Originally Posted by tvsky
Ive come up with these :
Some interesting points. I don't really agree though - here's why:
1 Length - 72-76mins of audio , a little more if you don't mind some players playing it properly. Clearly this could be much more , and there is probably a good market for that , live concerts , compilations , continuous mixed music (djs). Even for the tradition "album" we can have multiple versions , edits , remixes .
Albums are too long as it is - It's difficult for an act to come up with an album that can sustains listeners' interest for much more than 30-40 minutes. Much longer than that and acts tend to start including inordinate amounts of filler material that probably shouldn't be on the record. In fact, except for "concept albums" like Tommy or DSOM the old vinyl format with 15-20 minutes a side was superior in terms of sustaining listener interest and maintaining a higher quality of material.
2 Size - 5'1/4' is pretty big , this could be cut drastically and still give us better quality and run time . If we keep a small optical
format it would still allow backwards compatibility. You could go back to having the product directly playable in portable devices , no ripping or converting .
The smaller the size, the less the perceived value. People like nice album art and interesting, clearly legible liner notes. One of the problems with CD format is the shrinking of album art and liner notes to the point where you need a magnifying glass to read them - or they don't say anything interesting. Smaller packaging also makes it more difficult to include "extras" such as posters or other schwag. Not to mention that smaller objects are easier to lose and more difficult to catalog.
3 Durability - This is my personal peeve , the cd fragile and especially prone to scratches , cracks , marks and over longer times corrosion. If we abandon optical
discs the solid state alternatives are virtually indestructible in comparison.
Funny, that's what they said about the CD. It's actually pretty easy to take scratches out of a CD unless you REALLY abuse it. Solid State media is susceptible to static discharge and the fine internal conductors are vulnerable to corrosion over time. Plus they're really easy to break if you abuse them physically. (I've had a number of "smart cards" fail on me, for example. And I have a few broken memory sticks as well.) While they may be somewhat more durable than CDs (a point I'm not really convinced of) there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything breaks if you abuse it and the format has not been around long enough to demonstrate long term durability.
4 More features , options , content . Multi channel , multi language , multi track , multi media . You get the idea . We had a heap of crash and burn formats in the 90s trying to extend the CD , CDi CD+G etc , but it needs a complete whole of industry focus to achieve with a standard set of features that are universally available and included as standard content in every release.
The reason none of those formats went anywhere was lack of customer interest. Nobody really wants those features. People generally can't even set up a stereo properly, multichannel, multiformat stuff just confuses the. Artists are generally not gonna want to record multilingual versions of their work. Most artist find it hard enough to write a song in ONE language; they're not gonna want to have to record every song in bunches of languages.
"Industry focus" isn't the problem. People won't buy something they don't want just because the industry wants to sell it to them. That's a common mistake made by both technical visionaries and inexperienced (or overly egotistical) marketing people. The reason that Steve Jobs is such a marketing genius is that he has a knack for identifying what people want to buy and selling it to them - and doing it in a form that fits their desires and ease of use better than the competition.
As one example I know I would buy a CD that had a 2nd version of the content that wasn't crushed into a haze of distortion like most music is now mastered like . If I had a button I could press and that would make the loudness war version go away and I could have a proper version of the music I paid for that would be a god send.
Not gonna happen. I'd like to have a big red button to press that would make all the focus groups that make those stupid artistic decisions go away but that's not gonna happen, either. If they actually understood the need for non-smashed music (and the fact that smashed music actually sounds LESS loud when broadcast processing is applied) they simply wouldn't do it in the first place - or would put out alternate versions.
Again this will not stop piracy , it will not save the music industry . But its about doing things a bit better and maybe clawing back 5-10% . And don't forget this gets us back to a physical product so we can have great things like artwork , photos , lyrics , liner notes , deluxe box set merchandise - we know its all crap but we love it! . All the things that made buying a new album and experience . One that isn't replicated by clicking the buy button on a screen.
Nope. It's a red herring. Even if everything you want came to pass it wouldn't do a damn bit of good unless piracy was stopped FIRST. And if piracy was stopped first sales would return without all that.
Lots of this could be achieved now buy using an existing advanced format , but it must be a focused whole of industry objective . Its no use releasing a handful of SACD's , a fraction of the CD content , and then saying oh well we tried no one wants it.
As I pointed out above, an "industry objective" isn't the problem. The problem is market demand. There has to be a demand for a product or it simply won't sell, no matter how good it might be.
FM radio is a case in point. When it was introduced nobody could see the point of a broadcast format that couldn't reach nearly as far as the dominant AM radio. The fact that the audio quality was vastly superior didn't help at all. Major Armstrong and his investors (including one of my relatives) lost their shirt and the format was a nonstarter beyond a few college stations (because it didn't compete for bandwidth with AM and hence was available for noncommercial use) and classical stations in large urban centers. It stayed that way for approximately 30 years until the combination of the hi-fi craze of the late '60s and "alternative radio" driven by demand from the hippie movement caused enough demand to make a (relatively) short range, high quality, stereo-capable radio format viable.