From: Mike Gray <[log in to unmask]>
>> Another reason for the demise of Masterworks Heritage was the
>> packaging  - it cost almost a buck each for each gatefold pack 

But those cardboard packs were handsome and I think they sold more
because of them.  It was a great comedown when a few of the early ones
were reissued in normal jewelboxes when the supply of the original
covers ran out. 

>> + the packs had no Japanese notes, ergo were an impossible sell
>> in the Japanese market. 

Some of the early ones had thicker than necessary booklets because they
had multi-lingual German notes, and I always felt that it was a waste
for the copies sold here in the U.S., but your prospective of not having
Japanese notes does change my mind a bit about the value of spending
extra for multi-lingual notes.  The early ones were produced in Europe
which made including the German notes (and maybe also French) a natural.

The European origin brings up a retail packaging problem.  When I was in
Europe during the time this series was very popular I noted that they
were packed in a nice stiff but thin, form-fitting clear-plastic
protective slipcase.  I mentioned this at ARSC and wondered if Columbia
could pack them this way in the U.S. instead of shrink-wrap which bent
the covers, and then put shrink wrap over the plastic.  (In those days
Europeans rarely shrink wrapped CDs because many of the stores take the
discs out and put them behind the counter.)  I forget if it was Dennis
Rooney or Peter Munves who told me that they were actually shipped to
the U.S. with those plastic protective cases but somebody at Columbia
didn't like them and had a person take the slipcases off the sets one by
one by one.  He said there was a room full of the cases in NY!!!!  He
said he would get me some, but a while later told me they had been
thrown out before he could grab some.  It is obvious that making the
cases and putting them on in Europe raised the cost, and taking them off
in NY further raised the cost!!  And I bet they would have sold just a
bit better in the U.S. with those protective slip-cases.  

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]  

>> Unfortunately, MH came just as the CD reissue boom was cresting
>> + it was largely a mono catalogue that duplicated the LYS's of
>> the world, who had gotten there first.  My 2 cents,  Mike Gray

Dave Lewis wrote:
> Masterworks Heritage made its bow in 1995, and I'm curious as to how
> much earlier it would have needed to emerge to enjoy success. Seems
> to me that much before 1995 the transfer technology and even the
> ability of engineers was not quite to the level that would have made
> it a more going concern than it was in '95. I never had any trouble
> selling the Bidu Sayao discs or the Mahler First with Mitropoulos
> and Minneapolis, but there were other, far more conservative choices
> that did stiff and I think that Masterworks Heritage launched so many
> titles at first that the market simply wasn't to bear all of them.
> Certainly the digital transfers of 1989 had a long way to go before
> they reached the standard that is familiar to us now.
> Respectfully,   David "Uncle Dave" Lewis