Recorded Music Obsolete?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by John Brooks, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    News has just been released that the huge Sam the Record Man Store on Yonge Street in Toronto is to close.

    The news report included the following quote:

    "Today, the very concept of recorded music is on the verge of becoming obsolete. Whether or not it's a year or five years, there is a timeline there where they're just not going to be making this product anymore."

    I agree that the ongoing evolution of technology from 78's through to CD's is going to result in a different marketing strategy where we'll all download our choices instead of buying them on prepared media but can't see recorded music per se becoming obsolete.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Surely it is not "recorded music" that is obsolete, but the "recording medium"?

    Whether you listen to the 78, 45, or 33 vinyl, cassette, CD, mini disc or iPod, the music is still recorded?

    What we should be worrying about is the demise of "live" music that brass bands play!

  3. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    While I agree with you, the quote was clearly refering to recorded music, that's why I thought it would make an interesting topic for discussion.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure that there will always be a demand for recorded music, whatever format it may be stored in. Recordings enable comparisons to be made between playing standards and styles of different eras, as well as providing a lasting record of significant musical occasions. When you consider that we now have recordings covering some 110 or more years, it is fascinating to be able to make such comparisons - I was amazed by the playing on a cd transfer of early cylinder and 78rpm recordings made by trumpeters and cornetists at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century: even taking into account the somewhat trivial nature of the subject material, the technique displayed was phenomenal, complete with cornet pedal notes.

    It may be that more record outlets will close as more people choose to download tracks or complete albums, but I'm certain recorded music (of all genres) will still be wanted, and hopefully will still be made available in some form of "hard copy", allowing for decent notes on the music and performers.
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I think the quote needs to be contextualised, tbh. Just reading it as it stands it could imply the death of recorded music.....but I don't think it does....I reckon it's just phrased badly, and it actually is referring to the idea of selling physical copies like CDs.

    It's highly likely that such distribution methods do have a limited lfespan...IMO the iPod generation have a fair amount to answer for due to the proliferation of compressed delivery methods - my only hope is that higher download speeds and server capacities will provide a market for things like FLAC downloads as I'm afraid I don't want to live in an MP3 infested world. They have their uses of course - I've even got an MP3 player ;) - but I still want access to the real audio material.

    Extrapolating further, what then happens to the audiophile formats such as SACD and DVD-A? I guess neither have really taken off - probably due to economics and none standard systems...properly recorded material on a good playback system can be phenominal...and I'd rather not lose access to that either (or whatever alternative happens to come along next).

    But we live in a world of quick and easy. The demand is for downloads for convenience, so the labels will provide'll get to the point where it doesn't make economic sense to have to manufacture and distribute physical media...and of course, you've obviously potentially got a wider target market with lower cost implications by download.

    Somebody needs to sort out the DRM mess though.

    I just want better quality downloads, not 128kbps MP3s :hammer

    As an aside, it's perfectly possible to provide as much artist / repertoire information in a download as it is in a CD booklet. Whether or not it's done is purely down to the releasing label.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    The original news item can be found here. Until everybody has access to the internet and the ability to download digital copies of music, films or whatever there will always be a demand for hard-copies! More retail outlets, though, will look at selling downloadable copies for portable media.
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Thanks for that.

    Reading it, it feels like the writer has misinterpreted his material - I still read it as being about physical media.

    You're quite right - there'll be a demand until the internet is all pervasive....but quite what the cost of those demands will be (lower volumes produced = higher cost anyone?) will be interesting to see. We've already seen the effects of geographical pricing with the recent CD WOW ruling....

    We'll see - until then, I'll just supply what clients ask for ;)
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  9. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Wasn't The Netherlands looking at doing something similar? Including putting a tax on hard disk space?
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - no idea!
  11. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    ..rather like the recent news item on the Masters and saxophones etc! Or it could be that Mr. Sniderman is simply bitter at the demise of the family empire and has a death wish on the entire industry.

    In the same context, HMV also have a huge store just down the street from Sam's plus a large number of stores in Malls across the country. It will be interesting to see what happens to them in the future.
  12. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Of course there will always be recorded music! Clearly its the medium thats in question. Those who buy selectively e.g., building a lasting library probably want a medium more trustworthy than their computer hard drive.

    Downloading may be convenient for immediacy or for extracting single numbers, but it doesnt match up to the CD in at least one respect. I recently downloaded the Stanford Orchestral Songs (lovely music, incidentally) in Chandoss new High Definition format. Its slower to download but I wanted to burn it onto a CD for keeps. I also downloaded the artwork for the cover and sleeve notes and heres the problem. Its a chore having to print out everything and I cant easily format it into a traditional booklet to fit into the jewel case. I want the notes about the music to be easily accessible and to be able to follow the printed song texts when available.

    Apart from the radio, how else can we hear worthy pieces that are denied public performance for fear they wont attract concert-goers, or if we're unable to get to live performances?

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