London Philharmonic Ceases SACD Releases – A spokesman for the London Philharmonic Orchestra has revealed that their SACD series, which we have been reviewing, will not be continued. He pointed out that manufacturing costs for SACDs are roughly double that for standard CDs and since sales of the LPO SACDs have been extremely small, there are no further plans to release on SACD. The last LPO SACD was Britten’s War Requiem; they pressed 500 of the SACDs and still have plenty in stock. We SACD fans better take some action if we don’t want this to happen with the bean-counters at more labels!
DISH Network First to Offer All-MPEG-4 – DISH Network Corporation has become the first pay-TV service to transmit all of their programming – both standard and HD – in the top-quality MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding Standard. MPEG-4 delivers the best quality image to any TV set and is perfect for those who have or are considering an upgrade to high definition. The new service ties in with the recent DISH introduction of TurboHD – the only industry option featuring 100% HD, including 1080p where applicable and up to 150 HD channels by the end of this year. The TurboHD package is available to present DISH users for as little as $10 additional per month.
EU Threat to Extend Copyright Protection to 95 Years – The European Union wants to pass a law extending mechanical copyright of all recordings from the present 50 years to an absurdly long 95 years. If passed, North American copyright law would probably follow suit. The major record companies are pushing to preserve their copyrights on a chosen few big-selling artists with older recordings. No artist who recorded prior to 1920 is still alive, and the two major companies involved – EMI and Polygram – not only have not reissued the majority of historical recordings in all genres, but don’t even own most of them. Years ago they sold them off to private collectors. A 95-year copyright would prevent many small reissue labels from bringing to the public fascinating archival material on CD and downloads. Most of them are clearly labors of love and not for profit; one label reissuing historic British music hall reissues is pleased if they sell 50 copies of a release.
The current barrage of inexpensive jazz CD package reissues from Europe – many with the most enhanced sonics these masters have ever had – would be completely stopped, and they would have to be removed from the market. Most of the collectors of original 78s and cylinders are not young themselves and after 95 years the vintage recordings may be completely lost to posterity. The historical importance of early sound recordings of all types is not being fully appreciated. The heirs of some of the lesser-known artists are more interested in just being able to hear reissue recordings of their ancestors than receiving small royalty payments. The present 50-year retrospective copyright is quite long enough.