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ARSCLIST  December 2010

ARSCLIST December 2010

Subject:

Re: The TV thread...

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Dec 2010 09:18:22 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (39 lines)

--- On Thu, 12/9/10, Melissa Widzinski <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Speaking as one from "the younger set," I will say that I always purchase
new recordings in CD form. 
 
******************************************************
As a member of "the older set," and one with a record label, may I say, I wish there were more like you out there. However, now that we sell downloads, and by comparing my sales reports, it appears you are increasingly the exception to the rule. People don't even bother to buy a download, they stream. 
 
*******************************************************************
I see mp3 or any other compressed digital file as
a devaluing of the art. 
 
****************************************************************
Not having followed this thread, I should probably check the back postings to see if my concerns have already been expressed, but putting in my two cents... it just isn't the mp3, but it has to do with the entire art of recording, something you address later in your posting. My interest is classical music. For whatever the reason I find it frustrating that "noise" reduction is used so freely in modern recordings of classical music. For me, there is an unearthly quality when ALL of the room noise and ambiance is removed.
 
And with all of the great equipment that is available, even some respected engineers do a lousy job. I am reminded of a recent Naxos release of the Harris Symphonies. It sounds like the engineer had a separate microphone for the bass drum and the rest of the microphones were in the balcony. I miss John Eargle.
 
***********************************************************
 
Additionally, with a digital file, one doesn't get a
physical product or any details of the recording along with the file besides
basic metadata. 
 
*********************************************************
According to my information, notes are rarely consulted. It was with that thought in mind, that we will begin offering a series of historic recordings with no notes, and available only as downloads. The performances will all be from broadcast sources. Our thinking was that there will be minimal interest in these recordings, and the added expense of liner notes could not be justified. Only basic information like performing group and date of performance will be included. Our thought was that you can probably find some notes about a Beethoven Symphony by checking the web. By the way, everything will be 50+ years old and older and will not be available for download inside the US. Naxos will be carrying our offerings. 
 
So my point...in addition to giving a plug to our new series, is to show that while the physical object, even in classical music, where collectors seem to prefer their "objects" and good sound, it is difficult to justify the expense of pressing something that has a limited potential for sales.  Unless your recording features a Lang Lang or another hot musician du jour,  you can't press something and do layout and notes unless you want to lose money. That said, about half our small number of releases had grants or donations to support the pressing...and we only pay musicians once our costs are covered....and we have no employees...we are a 501 c 3
 
In short, it seems to me that FLAC or even WAV downloads are our only hope for quality. Also, I should add that places like the Naxos library provide good access for classical music. Librarians who catalog know that classical music is the most difficult subject to deal with. With all of the multiple forms of title, number of recordings, arrangements etc., it can be a nightmare. That is why it seems likely that specialization in vending for classical music will be with us...at least as long as there is an adequate customer base to support it. Classical music specialists are rarely found in record stores these days...perhaps we need an online chat help.
 
As for what younger people don't know...I believe that many don't know they should be paying for their recorded music...but then...here I am...a 60+ year old who downloads a CDR of mp3's of recent classical music broadcasts every week. I would buy them, but they aren't for sale! Go figure. So, if I want to hear the latest piece by Dalbavie, I have to listen to an mp3.
 
As for the comment about fine wine...during my days in graduate school I got used to cheap wine. Now I get mine out of a box...not bad, not great, but less expensive...kinda like how I get my music. Sad to say, it looks like we are going to see more boxed wines. Fine wine, like great audio, has always had a small market.
 
Karl
 
 

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