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Chuck Nessa and Bob Sunenblick produced a wonderful compilation of all the 78s Charles Mingus made in California in the 1940s - early '50s. Sunenblick even bought one of the obscure labels to get the access, discovered unknown Mingus comps and turned the rights over to his widow. The booklet was a 96-page masterpiece about west coast jazz of the era. This took years and lots of money; the tracks were IMMEDIATELY ripped off by somebody, probably in the microstate of Andorra.

Donald Clarke

On Oct 1, 2013, at 12:08 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

Yeah, but you guys just raised a key issue. My bet is that Rhett's Duane Eddy compilation may have come from overseas. It's a gray-market product from the get-go. Using liberal copyright rules in other countries, producers of cheap compilations get someone to make a quicky transfer of an LP or 45 because they can't license the master tapes. If they did this in the U.S., Australia and a few other places with strict copyrights, they'd be prosecuted as pirates. Naxos is the king of this, operating out of Hong Kong and selling cheapo discs made from garage sale LP dubs. Pure junk, but they exist because the labels sit on their vaults and won't invent a viable business plan to unleash all of the contents of their vaults.

Even more insidious than cheapo junk reissues of LP and 45 dubs from gray-market operators overseas is taking a high-quality reissue like a Mosaic box, ripping the CDs and then repackaging them into original album sequences with usually blurry scans of the cover art. There are several jazz reissue "labels" based in Europe that specialize in this practice. It's worse than LP dubs because they are stealing Mosaic's investment in quality remastering and Mosaic buyers are thus subsidizing these gray-market goods. Again, if the record labels would do this themselves, after Mosaic sells out its licensed number of sets, then at least legitimate copyright owners would be profiting and it's more likely that artists would eventually get whatever royalties they are due.

There's a whole hornet's nest of issues here but it boils down to two big trends. First, consumers want to pay prices that do not tend to allow for a profit margin that can build in quality work on the transfer and mastering end. Second, big record companies tend to make slow, dumb decisions about materials in their vaults because they are set up to chase quarterly hits. These two factors open the door to the gray-market leeches, which further erodes the margins and markets for legitimate reissues.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Donald Clarke" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Compact Discs with lossy compression


> Good point here. It may be impossible to get into vaults or to get to master tapes, but if you're going to put out a cheesy bootleg, it's like the food in a bad restaurant: every foodie I know agrees that it's just as easy to do it better.
> 
> Donald Clarke
> 
> On Oct 1, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Jamie Howarth wrote:
> 
> Agreed w Tom on most points. If we could get a couple grand to do a Duane Eddy it would be done.It doesn't cost much more to do it right than do it wrong.
> 
> The labels will license-out for vinyl physical product, but not digital physical product. If they did the rich hedgie would be backing a new custom label done by us.
> 
> You guys should be making the adamant case that there's a quality floor, and to repackage an existing set of 44/16s as new is sketchy, and certainly that repackaging mp3s is caused for flaming brooms and pitchforks. It is imperative that you guys speak up, and realize that your reissue market may be mispriced - you're Red Seal/Shaded Dog, not Roulette records w ground up labels in the vinyl. And even back then there was honor among some of the thieves. Morris mandated re-used vinyl, Berry mandated against it.
> 
> 
> 
> Please pardon the misspellings and occassional insane word substitution I'm on an iPhone
> 
> On Oct 1, 2013, at 9:01 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> 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 and LPs.
>> 
>> 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 $10, you get what you are willing to pay for. Not enough "hedgies" out there to bend the curve.
>> 
>> -- Tom Fine
>> 
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Donald Clarke" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 8:41 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Compact Discs with lossy compression
>> 
>> 
>>> I'm using this list to improve my vocabulary. Please, sir, what's a hedgie?
>>> 
>>> Donald Clarke
>>> 
>>> On Oct 1, 2013, at 12:23 AM, Jamie Howarth wrote:
>>> 
>>> Here's a brain teaser: I asked a wealthy hedgie what is favorite album is. Ok U2 War... Alright what would you pay for an HD download ... 29.95$.. Ok how much would you pay for a mirror copy of the master tape... 500bucks!!! In a heartbeat.
>>> 
>