Thread: How many of you are - actually - SACD-ONLY buyers???

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Post by aoqd22 January 16, 2009 (71 of 321)
Robert ...

As we are talking about counting beans ... most of the SACDs I have arrive in the new Super Jewel Boxes. I have no idea how much they cost but presume more than the standard jewel boxes my RBCDs have come in. All I wanted to say was if BIS decided to issue everything in the older design of jewel box and it saved a few beans it would make no difference BIS would still remain my preferred label.


Post by eesau January 16, 2009 (72 of 321)
When it comes to classical music, I'm a multichannel SACD only buyer.

During the last five years, I have acquired

75 MC DVD-A's (mostly rock music and none during the last three years)

190 MC SACDs (abt. 25 from BIS and a lot of Ondine, Alba, Chesky etc.)

and possible something like 50 CDs (no classical music .. just filling the gaps in my collection of 60es-70es rock and 50es-60es jazz + ECM stuff).

At the moment I'm going to transfer all my CDs to FLAC files. The only
physical records that I'm going to play are SACDs (and the DVD-A's that I already own).

best regards,


Each time I visit any Stockman store or Fuga, I try to find
a new BIS SACD to buy.

Post by eesau January 16, 2009 (73 of 321)

If the economics do not allow selling SACDs like CDs, why don't you go for a SACD sales in the net only? I would be glad to buy BIS SACDs directly.

Why don't you join with other SACD record companies with this idea?

Well ... downloading BIS multichannel music in lossless format ... is also a good idea ... but all record formats are for collectors and I personally might still prefer the physical records. And if you ever go for the downloading option, you have to give up the copy protection.



Post by deckerm January 16, 2009 (74 of 321)
a variation on this could be a code with the CD that allows you to download the hi-rez content in flac format from BIS. THat way, you could sell only RBCD while providing an option for those wanting hi-rez content. Of course this depends on:
a) would people wanting hi-rez have the means to store electronic content and listen to it as intended?

b) Assuming that they would, what form of DRM would you chose to implement, if any, and would that requirement limit your hi-rez clientele from purchasing (it would for me).

c) this assumes there is a cost advantage to not pressing hybrid discs. If there is still a substantial cost to making hi-rez music, this idea only becomes a hassle, saves you nothing, and potentially limits your hi rez clientele.

Some random thoughts.

Post by robstl January 16, 2009 (75 of 321)
Bissie -

I purchase SA-CDs nearly exclusively now. ("Nearly" allows for the occasional historical recording of interest, and my Shostakovich collection can always stand to grow.) I've got all of the solo Beethoven/Brautigam SA-CDs to date, all of the Beethoven/Vanska SA-CDs to date, all of Tchaikovsky/Jarvi SA-CDs to date, all of the Shostakovich/Wigglesworth SA-CDs to date, and a few others including the Aho 12th, the Beethoven/Kempff solo and trio recordings.

Had these not been SA-CDs:: I have enough other RBCD recordings of the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky that I would not have purchased any of them had the BIS recordings been RBCD only. I probably _would_ have purchased the Shostakovich/Wigglesworth discs on RBCD because I started collecting the lot of them before I even knew what an SA-CD was, and that 14th symphony on RBCD was so outstanding (but WOW! the 13th on SA-CD is spectacular, my favorite recording regardless of format). I probably wouldn't have gotten the Aho 12th, much as I admire the composer from prior BIS RBCDs, if it hadn't been SA-CD format and gotten such stellar reviews on this site.

Rough calculation: of about 22 SA-CDs, I would have purchased 3 (14%) if only released on RBCD. Of course, I know from my prior experience with BIS RBCDs that they would have been excellent -- because of the high standards of your company -- but I wouldn't have purchased them.


Post by melomane January 16, 2009 (76 of 321)
bissie said:


this is Robert from BIS, aka bissie.

In the current business climate even we have to look at bean-counting.

Since we release all our SACD:s as Hybrids and since we don't charge a premium, but absorb the extra costs for recording, editing, mastering and production of an SACD, selling at the same price as a RBCD,

*I would be extremely interested in knowing how many EXTRA copies we sell because of the SACD option.*

Mathematically, starting from the edited master tape, we need to sell some 600 EXTRA copies of the production in order to break even for the extra costs of producing the SACD, compared to releasing only a RBCD.

Question: do we do it? Since we don't have double inventory, there is no way for me to tell.

Obviously there are other factors as well: prestige, good-will, satisfaction with a superb product, but, when it comes to paying the salaries (BIS is nowadays probably the only classical company in the world with its own, full-time production staff - we have 7 producers/engineers hired that roam the 6 continents of the world recording with our own equipment) we need the green stuff.

So, since this would be the relevant Forum to ask something like that: how many of you, who do buy the occasional BIS SACD would abstain from doing so, were the identical programme to appear only as RBCD?

I think this is a relevant question to put, especially so, since many of my colleagues seemingly have made the same calculation - and then abandoned SACD.

Best - Robert

Hi Robert, my English is poor, maybe someone can translate.

Depuis 2003 j'ai un lecteur SACD et je n'achète plus de RBCD sauf à quatre exceptions près. J'apprécie la qualité des enregistrements BIS tout particulièrement (p.ex. Järvi, Kempf, Fröst, Bezali et d'autres encore) et je serai prêt à payer un prix correspondant au travail effectif fourni pour ces enregistrements de qualité.

Je ne sais pas si le téléchargement en haute définition (si un jour il sera disponible) sera la mort du support SACD pressé. Il y a là une question de durabilité dans le temps (archivage) à laquelle je suis sensible. De plus, en musique classique je n’achète pas que du logiciel ; j’ai plaisir à lire une documentation bien fournie dans un livret bien imprimé pour lequel je n’ai pas besoin d’un écran pour lire. Le label AliaVox, par exemple, à choisi cette voie avec ses dernières publication qui sont plus des livres qu’un simple support audio.

Ce qui est dommage, c’est qu’apparemment le home-vidéo n’a pas fait avancer la cause des enregistrements multicanaux et que la finesse de la haute définition audio n’est pas audible avec des équipements hifi bons marchés achetés en grande surface. Et les quelques rares adeptes que nous sommes ne suffisent pas pour faire vivre un bon disquaire avec un choix permettant la comparaison entre différents enregistrements et la discussion entre érudits.

Je pense que les sites internet comme celui-ci deviennent de plus en plus important et la vente directe par internet va augmenter encore à l’avenir. Ce qui manque peut-être au site c’est la possibilité d’écoute comparative d’extraits des enregistrements discutés. Même si ce n’est qu'en stéréo dans un premier temps, mais pas du mp3 !

Avec mes salutations les meilleures

Post by Cicero January 16, 2009 (77 of 321)
There is not much I can add. But as Bissie seems to be interested in *how many* people's buying decision are influenced by the format, here it goes:

My buying decisions are normally repertoire-, performance- or artist-driven. I do buy RBCDs if the repertoire, the performance or the artist appeal to me or have something special to say. There are countless recordings in my collection that I treasure dearly even though the sound may be sub par.

Having said that, and bearing in mind that I have a rather large RBCD collection at home (too large according to some), my RBCD purchases have significantly decreased over the last two years: the work, the recording or the artist must be something truly special to merit purchase. However, if a new recording is issued in the SACD format I am more inclined to purchase; that applies even to standard repertoire. To give just a few BIS-related examples, I might not have started investing in Brautigam's ongoing Beethoven cycle, were it available only as RBCD (I already have several cycles in my collection). I am considering trying Vänskä's Beethoven *also* because it is available on SACD (although I have numerous recordings of the Beethoven symphonies). By the same token, I am tempted by BIS' recent Villa-Lobos but have not purchased any of the Choros issues yet *partly* because they are not available in the SACD format. I was tempted to add BIS' recent issue of Britten songs to my collection but decided not to duplicate repertoire I already have in other performances. Were the RBCD available as SACD, I might reconsider. I have bought and intend to keep the recent recording of Aho 12, although I have mixed feelings about the music itself. Why? It may be *partly* because the SACD provides for a remarkable aural experience. And the list goes on ...

Post by wolf359 January 16, 2009 (78 of 321)
I have been aware of SACD for years but never had the equipment to play it on. About 18 months ago "borrowed" the PS3 to make sure my HD TV was up to spec by feeding it a diet of blu-ray movies, noticed the SACD logo and as a result fed it a couple of discs that happened to be in my collection. I was hooked Currently still got the PS3 (for Blu-ray) as a back up SACD player and graduated to a Marantz DV7001 universal player, now I rarely buy a straight RBCD and the SACDs which now number around about a hundred are 95% multichannel. I have several stereo SACD's some of which were purchased to improve on the poor performing standard Cd version.

At the beginning Robert mentioned that he would have to increase sales of each release by about 600 units in order to break even. this begs several questions in my mind.

Firstly is how much each release would have cost to be sold , to wipe out the need for an extra 600 to be produced? (Assuming and it is a big ask sales did not drop) And would the public stand for it

Secondly has any market research been done to show that sales would actually increase if the price has been lowered, and would the increase in such sales cover the increase in production costs arising from that

Thirdly SACD buyers especially classical music purchasers tend to regard purchasing and listening to music as an important part of thier lives much more so than other who regard music a cheap disposable one off. The older buyer tends to have more disposable income and may not want to give up thier SACD fix and be prepared to pay a higher price for the pleasure

All of point three is negated of course by the current economic situation in which business of all types are going to the wall, however some research seems to indicate that people are prepared to spend more on home entertainment and stay in more rather than spend money outside of the home in difficult times . however home entertainment covers a wide spectrum, computer , DVD,blu ray,Games console, the Cd has been relegated to somewhere near the bottom of that list and in effect SACD is a niche product offshoot of CD

As a supplier and producer of high quality music BIS faces challenges about how it will survive make a profit and satisfy its customers on the quality and content level. A glance at the number of companies who started out supporting SACD but fell by the wayside and dropped the format show that yes they may be surving but they are not making vast profits. Robert and Bis may not be making vast profits either but the difference is that they care about the format the product and the customer and under those circumstances they deserve our unstinting loyalty and praise.

The readers and users of this forum are already commited to SACD and has been said many times people who come to SACD after listening to it for the first time are "wowed" by the sound of a great recording but then cannot find the discs or hardware so it cannot grow organically

If Bis becomes the lastest to pull out of SACD the trickle may well accelerate and become a flood because SACD production plants will switch to other forms of disc it not being viable to keep them open for the few companies left without charging them a hefty premium . I liken SACD to concorde, elegant a design classic, the CD is a jumbo jet,the equivalent of an airborn truck, Regretfully concorde went into oblivion but the jumbo lives on. I don't want the SACD to go the way of concorde

Post by Tourboots January 16, 2009 (79 of 321)
I do buy RBCDs where I want the performance and music. These are bought grudgingly as I would of course prefer SACD multichannel. My priority is always however to buy SACDs, primarily multichannel as these make a huge difference to my listening experience. I also buy these single inventory discs for friends as presents.

Post by tommwi January 16, 2009 (80 of 321)
melomane said:

Hi Robert, my English is poor, maybe someone can translate.

Ne vous inquiétez pas - Bissie comprendra Frensh tout à fait! :-)

Interesting original question stimulating me to play around with figures and fractions… But first my own preferences: First comes composer/music and then artist. There are also quite many artist-only driven purchases for me, also from the BIS label (like Sudbin). I never ever buy a recording for the sole reason of it being in SACD format. SACD is never an issue for me in that way. But I won't complain if it is SACD of course either. I do recognise the quality enhancement, enjoy it including the mch-possibility, although I will not subscribe to the slashing of CD’s some doing here. Get yourself a better (=more expensive) disc-player I’d say! In sum - this put me well outside all (!) posters on this forum (I thought such voice should be heard too), but I’m sure right in the middle of the general recording buying public! My main body of BIS recordings are CDs, well over 100. Plus some 30 SACDs.

If BIS need to sell an extra 600 item per SACD release to cover production costs, you will need 10% or more to make business of it, this is also important. And since not everyone can be expected to buy a copy of every SACD release there is a fraction of this market to discuss too. I’d guess maximum 1 out of 5 will go for your SACD releases for the reason of it being a SACD, in reality it’s even less. So you will need 5 times as many potential customers. That’s 3000 to cover cost and say 3500 to make business. You don’t have that market! Such large fractions of a market don’t exist in classical music considering the total market for each release is – 10000 at the most (save some of the DG singer type of releases)?

There are other fractions to discuss too. Like how many who buy recorded classical music knows what SACD is? 100% at this site for sure but in general not more than 10%?, probably less. Of those 10%, a fraction will buy a BIS recording just for the sake of the format. Well – max 10% will (more likely 1%): So the 10000 * 10%*10% = 100. My more likely estimation ends at 10. Far far away from your 600..

Frankly speaking - there is no way the many posters here who claim to be SACD-only buyers in any way will be anything but a very small, almost neglect able, part of those who buy BIS recordings. The order of preference (SACD first...) speak volumes of what interest drives the disc buying behaviour and are as far as I can tell, far away from the values that have built one of the most respected classical music labels around. Many here did not even know of the BIS label before SACD and will the moment SACD releases from BIS ceases, start to cut BIS to pieces in frustration (compare what sadly happened to Julia Fischer).

My most important order of preference is BIS alive and continuing its mission to mix the well-known repertoire with the not so well-known, and in between releasing some outrageous repertoire too. And every now and then picking up some truly great artistry for posterity. Can you do that with a growing number of SACD releases, then you have achieved something more than the core values BIS stands for.

I think looking at SACD now is too much looking at the rear mirror. The future for high rez seem to be downloading and streaming and possibly in between Blu Ray. I.e. if the near future profiles of BD disc players support non-screen playing options. I’m not so sure that will happen though…

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