Please Explain to me, business-wise, why the Beatles CD's have not been remastered?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by J. R., Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. J. R.

    J. R. Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    I know there are threads close to this, but I have never heard an adequate explanation as to why the Beatles CD's have not been remastered, expanded, etc., when nearly every other catalog has. To me, this makes no business sense at all. When something becomes a commodity, the only way it can be sold to us again is to have it "new and improved" in some fashion (or invent a new use for it, but that doesn't apply in this case).

    IMHO, the only way the music industry can make more money off "old" music is to find a way to sell them to us again...and again...and again. This means remastering, repackaging, expanding them, whatever it takes to make us replace our present CD's. I am sure the present Beatles CD's are still selling well, but again IMHO, that is nothing compared to how they would sell if they remastered them and sold them to us again. The Beatles are not the only artist this pertains to, but certainly they are the biggest. Personally, I would prefer having them on SACD, but nearly anything is preferable to the present CDs....
     
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Music Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I think the artist control is very tight on this catalog. I would prefer a hirez version as well.
     
  3. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    Location:
    Germany
    Well... you should ask Yoko!
     
  4. guy incognito

    guy incognito Senior Member

    Location:
    Mee-chigan
    As Lee says, artist control. Believe me, if EMI or Capitol controlled the catalog, it'd be like Elvis: endless remasterings, repackagings, best-ofs, box sets, remixes, twofers, etc. over the years.
     
  5. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    The problem is as you say that they are selling very well, so there is no economic incentive to remaster. Remastering after all costs money, and they would have to revamp the packaging to bring it up to 21st Century standardsl and that would cost money too. They could perhaps sell a few more CD’s to people who already own them, but it may not make economic sense to do so. One thing that could have happened is that the release of the Capitol albums might have created a tremendous buzz about remastering, which would have caught the attention of EMI. But unfortunately Capitol put out the albums that have the least cache amongst casual Beatle fans, so the buzz was somewhat muted.

    I’m also not sure that EMI is convinced that the Beatles CD’s sound all that bad. I think they consider the current CD’s to be a great product, and they thus feel no pressure to revamp. However, I do think that it will happen eventually. EMI will find a reason eventually to revamp the catalog. Until that day we can only sulk.
     
  6. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    My thinking is that most CD buyers are not audiophiles. They just want the music and the 1987 CD's sound fine to them. Just look at where the Beatles albums are ranked on Amazon. The majority of them are in the Top 200. I'm sure the remasters would sell well but I don't know how many people who already own a few of the Beatles CD's would upgrade just because they are remastered. It would probably be wise to phase out the 87's first and build up a bigger demand for the remasters.
     
  7. GuyDon

    GuyDon Senior Member

    I don't think Yoko is the problem (and I know you weren't saying she was) as she is more than eager to remix and remaster both her own and John's recordings. I think it centers on getting the subject on the agenda and getting all four parties to agree. More pressing business matters (i.e Anthology, Apple Computers, etc.) probably have kept them from doing so in the past.

    If Neil Aspinall's cryptic comments in the last year are any indication, it sounds like they are working on the catalog in some capacity as we speak.
     
  8. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    I think the Next beatles Product will be Multichannel Versions of :

    Abbey Road
    Sgt Pepper
    MMT
    Revolver
    Rubber Soul
     
  9. LeeS

    LeeS Music Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I hope you are right Mikey. DSD or 24/96 would be terrific! :D
     
  10. GuyDon

    GuyDon Senior Member

    I agree. If Neil Aspinall's estimate can be trusted, maybe by next year.
     
  11. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    I think the roll out will be timed with the 40th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. Only 20 years after the initial CD's. :eek:
     
  12. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Lee, I know you love SACD, but in this particular case (The Beatles) I cant see the MC veriosn being on SACD. I would almost bet the farm that they would be DVD based. The mass majority dont have SACD players, but they do have DVD players.
    Thats one reason "Anthology" on DVD sold so well. They would missing 99% of the market by issuing MC on SACD.

    But, this is not to say that Beatles SACDs wouldnt be issued. I could see a deal to issue Hi Res stereo versions of those LPs with a seperate company for audiophiles.
    i think these would carry a high price tag, tho, in fact i'd be sure of it. They would have to since it would be a small press run.
     
  13. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    Location:
    DC
    Why have they waited 15 years to remaster it on CD? The Beatles (or they wives), dont care about it. I think is the short answer. It sells anyway, why bother.
     
  14. heliokt

    heliokt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    I agree. I would say that only a small percentage of cd buyers are hard core audiophiles. Nonetheless, when any given cd sounds bad even those with not so fortunate musical ear and/or hi-tech equipment will notice. The major point is: in a scale from 0-100 where would you place Beatles cds, in term of sonic quality? Of course you'll have to choose a cd that represents 0 and other to represent 100.


    If albums that were released as far as 42 years ago are still selling that well I would say (if I were the CEO of EMI...) that they should sound good..that would be a logical thinking for a businessperson (businesspeople feel free to disagree). Now, just being the devil's advocate, why change some 40 years old albums that are selling fine?


    This is the, perhaps, the most important thing. Somewhere in the seventies, the four Beatles made very clear that they didn't want any change in their albums. They were concerned that what happened to Elvis and Buddy Holy catalogs would happen to theirs (I have to admit that is kind weird to think the four Beatles fighting in court but also fighting to preserve their legacy). Now, IMO it will be extremely difficult to change their format, i.e., have the mono and stereo versions in the same cd, let alone bonus tracks. The future format: don't think they (EMI/APPLE/BEATLES) would risk to choose at this point SACD or DVDA (although someone did post a very interesting reason why DVDA should be chosen). Phase out the 87/88 cds would actually build up a demand for new cds, but you need to have the replacement ready to attend the new demand for Beatles cds, i.e., will they be remastered? who will remaster them? how about the package? they will give us a mono PPM and a stereo PPM and so on up to Let it be (hey actually Abbey Road and Let it be were never released in mono)? SACD, DVDA or something else?

    I would love to have nice packaging cds (I like digipack but they are not appropriate for storaging), decent liner booklets. Probably they'll will release some stuff to test the market, in fact I believe they're doing that since the YS songtrack...the problem is they're like those slow moving dinossaurs, whereas we are the quick mammals...well these are just some thoughts.

    Regards,
    Helio
     
  15. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    I have some expertise in graphic design and I would be willing to revamp the packaging to the standards required by collectors for free! And from what Steve has said on previous posts, I would think that he would almost be willing to remaster the Beatles catalogue for free as well! (but I will defer to Steve for the final word on that; he does have a family to support).
     
  16. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I'm sorry, but what was that 4-CD box that was issued last year? What was the "Yellow Submarine Songtrack"? I mean, you might not like those re-masters, but they are re-masters.
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Why tamper with perfection?
     
  18. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Dude........
     
  19. JonUrban

    JonUrban SHF Member #497

    Location:
    Connecticut
    This may be a reality, but horrors of horrors, what if they were released as Dolby Digital discs with NO HIREZ!! Not SACD, not DVD-A, just some sort of double packed CD w/DVD, with the "bonus" DVD being a Dolby Digital disc. Sure, it would be surround, but ugh, opportunity missed again.

    I hope not. :eek:
     
  20. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    How many times has the Hendrix or Elvis Costello catalogs been upgraded? Surely the Beatles outsell both of them combined. The Stones have been upgraded, Dylan, the Who, The Kinks, Pink Floyd....I can't think of ANY major artists out there that are still selling 1987-era product with no upgrade.

    If it was economically viable for those acts to upgrade, then no one is going to convince me that Apple/EMI/Beatles/Capitol/Seltaeb/you-name-it couldn't make money doing so.
     
  21. proufo

    proufo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bogotá, Colombia
    I think otherwise.

    Once a "definive reissue" is out, the interest for second-class product such as the anthologies, Capitols and 5.1s would diminish.

    So the right strategy would be to release first the latter and then, once the catalog (or the fans) have been milked out completely, then a definitive reissue might make business sense.

    Now, what is exactly what we yearn for in a reissue?
     
  22. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    What's the real trend nowadays? MP3s, iPod and all... I guess the red book CDs are OK for the vast majority...and they sell. Let's say they remaster the whole UK catalog. What would happen? They would sell. What's the difference for EMI?
     
  23. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    I agree. The Beatles "1" album is #19 on Amazon. I think that should say something right there about whether or not the average CD buyer really is concerned about remastering. :sigh:
     
  24. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Ah, but to the average CD buyer, "1" is remastered. I think that the remarkable performance of "1" should be an example of how well remastered Beatles would perform in the marketplace, even if we may think that "1" is poorly remastered and sounds like crap.

    I really think that the key to making Beatles remasters profitable is marketing. Probably a "duh" statement, I know, but I vaguely remember that "1" and the Anthologies were marketed very vigorously. I think that a Beatles catalog reissue, even a hi-rez one, couldn't fail to be a success if they just market it properly, and let people know it's out there.
     
  25. Joseph

    Joseph Senior Member

    Are people buying "1" because it's remastered or because it's a good concept that's well marketed? I think it's the latter.
     
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