Computer software companies and Hollywood studios make their vast fortunes selling the same basic data over and over again, each time with new twists and performance enhancements. The major record labels used to follow same business model until the mid-1990s. As much as the major labels want to blame Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing for their ills, that’s not the issue. The issue is that the compact disc isn’t an HD format and consumers want everything HD today. Blu-ray is HD on all levels. Blu-ray is good for surround sound in HD resolutions, it’s copy-protected and it’s cheap to get started. It’s a stunning value proposition for audiophiles, as well as for consumers far more mainstream in the marketplace today.
Emphasis added. Del Colliano is writing to audiophile labels, which is why he’s stressing the copy-protection, which is obviously not a consumer attraction. But there is half of a clever point here.
The appeal? The chance to hear the master tape of, say, Abbey Road in your living roomâ€”an actual perfect copy of it.
If only we had the equipment in those living rooms to hear it the way it was meant to. That’s the beauty of his point: In any house with either a Blu-ray player or a PS3, with an accompanying decent home theater speaker systemâ€”and that’s an massively expanding demographicâ€”there’s a potential convert to Blu-ray audio.
Blu-ray audio isn’t going to replace a generation’s infatuation with MP3s, and the music industry is never going to see the CD gravy train again. But we are long overdue for an audiophile revival.
The one I’ve been expecting is a conversion of the old terrestrial pattern to the online music-selling realm. It hasn’t happened yet, but at some point, as iPod storage capacity grows, iTunes is going to tell us that our MP3s have crummy sound, and that we should rebuy our music in some lossless format.
Del Colliano is onto another tack: The economy’s going to turn around at some point, and again, ever-more aging baby boomers and, soon, Gen-Xers, will start to make a little too much money and get a little too bored.
The prospect of, for the boomers, buying one last copy of Sgt. Pepper or Electric Ladyland or Hotel California and just sticking it into their Blu-ray player or their kid’s PS3 (i.e., without having to buy a new piece of hardware) may be hard to resist.
Previously in Hitsville: