I'm assuming Jamie was referring to a filthy-rich hedgefund guy who's also an audiophile. His point
was, the guy was willing to pay extra for better audio quality. We already see in the LP market that
a healthy niche can exist for people willing to pay more for perceived "better" quality. In the LP
niche, I would argue it's as much for the cachet and the nice packaging (a real artifact, as opposed
to a cheap-looking commodity product) as for the allegedly "better" sound quality.
There does seem to be an emerging niche for higher-quality digital audio, but most of the excitement
is in the now-tiny download niche. For the mainstream market, despite wishes by some of us for
things to be otherwise, there simply is not the production budget or profit margin to "do things
great", at almost any stage of the process. This is especially true with reissue material, which has
a limited end market. Comparing the market for a deluxe Grateful Dead reissue to the market for
less-popular (with today's buyers) Duane Eddy is comparing apples and oranges. No reissue producer
in his right mind is going to spend very much money putting together a Duane Eddy greatest hits
single-CD. He will likely make a very slim margin on it, as is.
That said, it's inexcusable to over-use digital "cleanup" software or use a low-resolution source.
My bet is, the source material for the CD that Rhett got is old singles and/or LPs. Some "engineer"
decided to go overboard with DSP to "clean up" the surface noise and ticks and pops, used a heavy
hand, and ended up with garbage that sounds like bad Napster-era MP3. Most people would probably be
surprised how many master tapes are lost or are now unplayable without costly restoration measures
(for which there is no budget), so many old-time pop and rock retrospectives are coming off singles
I can tell you from personal experience that it is very hard to make the numbers work on a per-disc
basis spending more than a handful of thousands of dollars, soup to nuts (transfer to finished
authored Red Book disc, hopefully with processed high-rez and Mastered for iTunes download files
also). That's a very, very constrained budget. Given that the transfer takes place in real-time, and
careful listening must be done before and after, and especially if any DSP is performed, you get to
very low wages quickly. So very few projects have the time or budget to go to anything approaching
extraordinary strides toward high quality. I don't like it either, but that's the simple reality of
today. Ask yourselves, how many of you are willing to pay $25 for a single CD. Adjusted for
inflation since 1984, that's the low end of what one should cost today. Given that they tend to sell
for under $10, you get what you are willing to pay for. Not enough "hedgies" out there to bend the
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Clarke" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Compact Discs with lossy compression
> I'm using this list to improve my vocabulary. Please, sir, what's a hedgie?
> Donald Clarke
> On Oct 1, 2013, at 12:23 AM, Jamie Howarth wrote:
> Here's a brain teaser: I asked a wealthy hedgie what is favorite album is. Ok U2 War... Alright
> what would you pay for an HD download ... 29.95$.. Ok how much would you pay for a mirror copy of
> the master tape... 500bucks!!! In a heartbeat.