Music Club CD's Quality Data Point
I was rereading a 1999 interview in Fanfare with Mark Stenroos the VP of Catalog Development for the Musical Heritage Society. MHS re-issues classical CD’s under license from EMI, DG, BMG, etc. His previous stint was with BMG Direct Marketing.
His comments on the MHS reissue process, provides data points on why some “Club” releases may or may not be different. Some quotes;
“We get clearance for a certain number… we pay an advance royalty for each licensed CD.”
“As for the music itself, we use whatever the label will give us; it could be a DAT tape, it could be 30 ips reel-to-reel, it could be anything. I do keep an eye on what’s being re issued in Europe because if the label has done a good remastering we’ll be able to get those tapes and put out something with the same sound quality”
“Most of our contracts with the majors state that we can’t change any graphics or liner notes.”
My personal conclusion is that MHS and “Club” releases may or may not be poorer quality sound depending on the quirks of the conglomerates sourcing of the music and the labeling will not tell you the source.