the sales of sacd are not supporting the format's future plain and simple. digital downloading, the redbook cd(and lps made in 'very,very small runs' is the future business model.
there were literally hundreds of millions of lps around the world when the industry pulled the plug. the specialty companies that keep the lp alive (on a purely boutique basis) with new pressings, are only manufacturing 500 to 1500 of each title globally. its truly a labor of love. the sacd format, on the other hand, is stillborn. the titles being released now and in the immediate future were already in the pipeline. the hybrid releases where the last attempt to attract the consumer, and the fact is over 99% on those discs never see an sacd player. in fact over 60% never see any kind of conventional home stereo. its way too late to convert people to this hobby 3 at a time.
the sacd's that are coming out(including hybrids) have already been committed to(particularly from the major labels. the windows for production, manufacturing and marketing are typically 10 to 18 moths before street. a small community indeed in its heyday bozak (a well regarded, and expensive at the time, audiophile speaker) sold in excess of 20,000 pairs a year. very few hi end speaker companies even come close to that today. if they do its bcause they are exporting the lions share of their inventory abroad. in bozak's heyday those sales were primarily in the u.s. only. the avg worldwide audiophile- grade vinyl run (per title) has just dropped below 900. i long way from the 5k and higher mf did per title less than a decade ago.
the industry goal at the moment is to get redbook to stablize. a flatline in sales for one would be good news. there is an lp revival with younger music 'collectors', but the real marketplace for this is primarily 'used' stuff and does the artists and the labels no good at this point.. new pressings(though small) are hopefully going to grow beyond the audiophile community. the focus for growth is currently on the web with music services. i hate this (personally) because it represents the end the the long playing album as an artform. enjoy music for music...recordings for rcordings.....songs for songs.....don't get caught up with which media is superior or will survive. i've gotta room filled with laserdiscs and i'm thrilled to own every one of them. i even collect the stones on 45 and reel to reel. there is nothing as viseral as 'have you seen your mother baby, standing in the shadow?' coming off a slightly noisey 45 rpm piece of vinyl. it was the way it was meant to be heard and enjoyed. the formats mean nothing, even in the hi end hobby......feeding your soul does.
ok....jazz and classical releases(with sacd) are less than 10% 0f all music sales. the quarterly release schedule for sacd is around 250(the lion's share from sony. cd and dvd is around 8000 titles per quarter. the playstation 3's compatibility will extend not only to sacd but hddvd as well. of the nearly 3500 sacd releases, nearly 1/3 are or will be slated for extinction. one more thing....releases dont equate to sales. if you talking sales increases over last year, vinyl is the fastest growing material format(the numbers are microscopic). sales in the industry overall are still down, a trend that hasn't stopped. remember, sony just sold their music company to bmg(a company that loves to work assetts without overspending. buy music 'regardless of the format', or soon there will be only one major label. the more formats, the better, but the internet is where the easy money comes from. and big companies love easy money.
audio software(cd's, lp's, sacds ,dvd's) have collectively taken a 25-30% tumble for the last two years running. the slack isn't being offset by purchased downloads either. a virtual culture shift is making music less important (to own)for many. listening to music, collecting it, and owning a home stereo is a taught behavior. unfortunately the only hardware company even courting the masses is bose.
lps can be made using existing anologue or digital masters.....in other words, no investment.... its found money.........remastered sacds cost tons of money and you have to deal with the artist, etc for additional permissions and roylties.....yes niche products can survive, but sacd, like the laserdisc,beta,cd video, digital tape,the minidisc,dvda, etc., just isn't paying for itself. the hybrids will even disappear soon. the release itself, not the technology, drove those sales and the additional expense simply wasnt worth it.