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ARSCLIST  February 2013

ARSCLIST February 2013

Subject:

Re: New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube

From:

DAVID BURNHAM <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

DAVID BURNHAM <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 16 Feb 2013 11:48:28 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (162 lines)

Thank you for your response, Tom.  I actually do understand the economics of the record business, at least to a further extent than what my posting may have indicated.  I do not have the same family association with the record business as you do so I can only view things from the perspective of a consumer.  I realize what motivates record companies to operate as they do.  But what I'm saying is that their priorities sometimes leave collectors like myself out in the cold.  In the MLP case, there are CDs I won't be able to obtain unless I decide to re-purchase most of the MLP CDs I have in order to get the few that I don't have, such as the interview CDs with you and your mother.  In the Toscanini example that I indicated in my earlier e-mail I was finally, about a month ago, able to get my hands on the booklet through a friend in the retail CD business.  I'm not only talking about substantial series like the Mercurys, often companies will release
 Beethoven Symphonies or Mahler Symphonies as they're recorded and then only release the last of the series included in a complete set.  And one can't always take it for granted that a series will be combined later.  I have bought all of Sony's Masterworks Heritage set which was, as far as I know, was never repackaged later;  I have also bought the complete RCA Living Stereo collection and EMI's Great Recordings of the Century with the same fate.  On the other side of the table, in recent months I have acquired the complete Rubinstein RCA recordings, the complete Horowitz recordings on both Columbia and RCA, (thanks to Sony jumping in Bed with BMG), and the complete Glenn Gould recordings, there's a fair amount of duplication in these last three sets but there was also enough new material to make the purchases worth while.

  db

P.S. As you must be able to tell from previous postings, I am a great fan of the Mercury sound, and have been since the early '50s, with a few minor reservations which I've mentioned from time to time.  However, as I've typed this e-mail I've been listening to two MLP CDs - the Enesco Roumanian Rhapsody No. 2, the Brahms Haydn Variations and the Marcel Dupre recital of Widor and Franck;  one weakness I find on these and have noticed on other MLP releases is the very poor editing, particularly on the Dupre recital; no effort seems to have been made to smooth out these edits.  All the MLP CDs are coded "ADD", which should mean that these recordings were either mixed down or edited in the digital domain but if that were the case, I don't understand how so frequently the orchestral or organ ambience suddenly disappears on a musical entry, or there's an audible thump or click on an edit, probably caused by a magnetized blade.



>________________________________
> From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask] 
>Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 6:40:21 AM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
> 
>David, your posting demonstrates a misunderstanding of the economics of the record business. To recoup the costs of reissuing a title (searching the vault to find the right tapes or disks, doing a good A-D transfer, sequencing and authoring the CD, designing packaging, promoting the product, etc), the model in the 1990s was to reissue as single or double CDs, priced either at the mid-price level or in some cases at full-price. You don't reissue a 125-disc series at once this way, you follow a schedule. It's not "piece-meal," it's a planned series release over several or many years, just like the original titles came out when they were new.
>
>I'm sure you're aware that the music business has undergone rapid and massive changes since the mid-90s. The first thing that happened is that the classical business suffered a bursting bubble (essentially, too high cost for new material, too many new releases, a flooded market for CD reissues of back-catalog, general cultural trends away from listening to classical music). So by 2000, almost all of these long-running back-catalog reissue programs ceased. And, much of the classical catalogs went out of print by the time the recession hit (which put a lot of nails in the music business -- didn't close the coffin but made all manner of past notions of budgets and costs unsustainable, probably from now on).
>
>In recent years, a new model has emerged for back-catalog material -- the many-CD box. People are willing to buy enough of these products to justify the manufacturing runs, and the model is to sell them into the retail channel based on pre-orders, with no returns (so there is no inventory on the record companies' books past the initial pressing and shipment). The manufacturing plants have gotten very good at doing smaller runs of many titles rather than just big runs of single titles, and these cardboard box-set packages are easier to make and ship than a bunch of plastic jewel cases (which are taxed in some EU markets due to their weight and plastic content, I think it's a recycling-recovery tax). So all factors point to this method as the way to get the back-catalog into print again, for short bursts of time. I think the record companies think they can do this once every decade or few years from now on, but I think we're seeing the very last bite of
 the CD apple, and all of this stuff will be perpetually available as lossy downloads only from now on (but probably at a discounted price similar to $2/CD).
>
>Anyway, that's why UMG and Sony have been reissuing their classical back-catalogs this way. All the executives I've spoken with at either company for the past 4-5 years tell me that single-CD reissues of old material do not sell anywhere except sometimes in Japan (where CDs are still collected and are still premium-priced). Elsewhere, single CDs are priced too high and retailers don't want to stock slow-moving items. In a box set, you can offer more variety because the really popular titles will sell the set and people are OK paying $2/disc for the rest of the material (as proven by the success of these products over the past 3 years).
>
>If you collected the original MLP CDs, you don't need the box sets (unless you want the new booklet text). In fact, if you want the original liner notes (edited to fit the CD releases), then you want to keep your original single-CD issues because that's the only place you'll find them aside from the original LP jackets. The first MLP set, which was originally designed in Korean for the Asian market, did not include recording information for the discs. The first box used for liner notes a reprint of the book from the mid-90s Compactoteque book/CD sample "You Are There," which you can find on eBay sometimes (it's a very good one-disc intro to what Mercury Living Presence was all about, with a nice booklet of first-person history written by my mother, Harold Lawrence and the then-living MLP artists). The new set includes all the "front of the booklet" recording/technical info that was in the original single-CDs. The booklet text is two new historical
 essays, the lead one by Mike Gray and one by me about the Mercury mic techniques and other technical history. Plus new, not-previously-published photos.
>
>So, given that recording and releasing music is a commercial business, there must be a viable business model. Reissuing vintage material, if it's done right, costs money. There must be a mechanism to recoup costs and make a profit, or it's not viable. If you have a general beef with capitalism, that's a whole other issue. BTW, those of us who desire to have ALL of the vaults available should hate pirates the worst and never buy gray-market and pirate CD "reissues" dubbed from old LPs. If enough of us are willing to pay for legitimate reissues, simple business 101 says they will be made available because there's a viable business model. As we move away from phyiscal CDs, the cost of making back-catalog available drops, but not drastically. The major cost is still getting the tape or disc in hand (labor at the vault), making a good A-D transfer (skilled labor) and putting together a coherent reissue (skilled labor at production and design). It can't be
 done by robotics if you want desireable products available to you.
>
>-- Tom Fine
>
>----- Original Message ----- From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 2:30 AM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>
>
>This has always been a real annoyance for me as, I assume, it has been for other collectors - that is the custom of record companies to issue a series piece meal over several months or years, and then offer the final items only as part of the complete set. I purchased the entire series of Mercury Living Presence recordings during the '90s as they came out, (I also purchased all of the Golden Imports from Philips in the same manner and the entire set of SACDs); now if I interpret the postings from Tom Fine and others correctly, it appears that there are some Mercury releases that are only available in these new boxes and won't be available separately.
>
>A similar situation came up with the complete remasterings of the Toscanini recordings from RCA in the '90s, (and maybe even back into the '80s). Like many other collectors, I bought every CD is it came out until I finally had the complete set; then RCA supplied a cabinet for the CDs and a booklet as a guide to the entire collection, but these items were only available to people who purchased the entire collection, (at a far cheaper price than the individual prices). I was in a store in Detroit who had an extra copy of the booklet which they were willing to sell me but they contacted RCA first and was forbidden from letting me have it. Don't these companies realize that it's buyers like me that keep these series afloat? If nobody was buying the Mercury or Toscanini CDs as they came out and they were just collecting dust in the stores, they wouldn't have kept issuing them.
>
>db
>
>
>
>> ________________________________
>> From: Randy Lane <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 9:41:27 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>> 
>> I don't think either set has either of the Skrowaczewski Minneapolis
>> Schubert CDs (one had Sym #5 & #8, the other Sym. #6 & #9)
>> I also have not seen the Detroit/Paray CD with the Dvorak Sym. #9 and
>> Sibelius Sym. #2.
>> 
>> 
>> On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> 
>>> Hi Randy:
>>> 
>>> First, to answer Ben Roth's question -- no overlap between the two sets.
>>> Volume 2 is 53 more MLP CDs originally released as single discs (and a few
>>> 2CDs) in the 1990s.
>>> 
>>> As to your question, off the top of my head I can name two three CD titles
>>> not in either box set:
>>> 
>>> 1. Dorati's Brahms symphony cycle (2CD)
>>> 2. Adam "Giselle" (2CD)
>>> 3. Fennell conducts Gershwin and Porter pops tunes
>>> 
>>> I think that the Paray Schumann symphonies is also not included in either
>>> set.
>>> 
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> 
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Randy Lane" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 8:18 PM
>>> 
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Yes, this volume 2. Get this one too and you'll have almost all of the
>>>> content of the offical MLP CDs issued by Philips under the direction of
>>>> WCF.
>>>> I am curious if Tom can tell us what is not contained in the 2 sets that
>>>> makes the completeness just an "almost all".
>>>> 
>>>> On Thursday, February 14, 2013, James Roth wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Hello all,
>>>>> 
>>>>> Is this a different box set from the one I bought about 3 months ago?
>>>>> At the end of the Youtube video there's a big, red numeral 2 behind the
>>>>> letter R of COLLECTOR'S.
>>>>> What does that indicate?
>>>>> 
>>>>> Ben Roth
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>>>>> [log in to unmask] <javascript:;>] On Behalf Of Donald Tait
>>>>> Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 2:55 PM
>>>>> To: [log in to unmask] <javascript:;>
>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>>>>> 
>>>>>   Thanks, Tom. Is there going to be a complete listing of the set's
>>>>> contents at some point, somewhere?
>>>>> 
>>>>>   Don Tait
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>>>>> To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>>>>> Sent: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 8:42 am
>>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] New MLP box set promo video now on YouTube
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> MLP Boxset 1080p FULL<http://www.youtube.com/**
>>>>> watch?v=_e9vGCyRaHU&feature=**youtu.be<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e9vGCyRaHU&feature=youtu.be>
>>>>> >
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> this is a good description/marketing video for the new box set. Non-US
>>>>> release will be in April, USA in May. 55-CD box. Pricing should be in
>>>>> line
>>>>> with the previous box (about $2 per disc). New 6-LP collector box will be
>>>>> released soon after the CD box. Manufacturing numbers will be about the
>>>>> same as last time, so availability will likely be about the same --
>>>>> somewhere less than a year before they're all gone. UMG/Decca did a
>>>>> really
>>>>> nice job on this one. The first box was very successful and they came
>>>>> back
>>>>> and raised the bar on the second one rather than stick to the exact same
>>>>> thing.
>>>>> Between the two boxes, all but a handful of the original CDs have been
>>>>> brought back into print (temporarily).
>>>>> 
>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>
>
>

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