An Open Letter To Audiophile Record Labels About Blu-ray For Music

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EMI-Logo2-thumb-255x155-74.gifTo the audiophile and HD-loving consumers: what if you bought a $200 or $300 Blu-ray player today for your best audio rig and looked for some of the newest titles on Blu-ray with the same enthusiasm as you seek out rare vinyl or high-resolution SACDs? They are out there. Buy the Neil Young catalogue. Buy some stuff from 2L. Buy some concert videos on Blu-ray. As soon as labels see that you are out there and are willing to spend the money that you might spend on a hot dog and a Coke at a baseball game on a Blu-ray music disc, they will make more. Record execs and RIAA statisticians track the sale of music on new formats like Blu-ray and your support makes a difference.

To specialty AV retailers who still care about selling audio and home systems to make profitable audio sales in the future: what if you made 100 percent certain that every person who walks in your door gets a demo of some music (even if it's in HD stereo) hears what Blu-ray can do in reproducing music. Show these people the future and ask them if they want to invest. How about calling every audiophile client you have sold a stereo preamp to in the past 20 years and send your salespeople out with a player and a Blu-ray music disc under their arms to do an in-home demo for 10 minutes? Think you might get some people back in the store for some sales? Do your salespeople have anything to do better right now than this kind of grassroots movement?

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.

My open challenge to you, the HD-loving, performance-oriented audiophiles, is to embrace Blu-ray for audio right now. Buy a player. Buy some discs. Write letters. Send emails. Post about HD audio on Facebook. Talk about Blu-ray on Linkedin's audiophile group. Ask your local record shop to start a Blu-ray section. Do the same at your local audio store. Start your own small movement. Get 10 or 20 of your music-loving friends to support the movement. It gets viral and that's how things get legs these days.

Meaningful HD downloads are coming without question, but won't be mainstream for years to come. Time will tell how you respond to the challenge and vast opportunity that I outline for you here. I see a bright future for HD audio if the people who truly love HD look to the future more than they cling to the past.


Jerry Del Colliano

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