Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Neil Young to release archive on Blu-ray discs

SAN FRANCISCO - Rocker Neil Young plans to release his entire music archive on Blu-ray discs, a sign that the discs' capabilities are building appeal among musicians as well as movie studios.

Blu-ray discs hold much more data than DVDs, are easily updated over the Internet and offer better picture and sound quality.

Young revealed his plans Tuesday at a Sun Microsystems Inc. conference in San Francisco. Santa Clara-based Sun makes the Java technology that gives Blu-ray discs their interactive menus and ability to accept updates over an Internet connection.

The first installment of Young's archive will cover the years 1963 to 1972 and will be released as a 10-disc set this fall on Reprise/Warner Bros. Records.

Young said the archives will be released chronologically and include some previously unreleased songs, videos, handwritten manuscripts and other memorabilia, in addition to the high-resolution audio that Blu-ray technology is known for.

Fans can download more content like songs, photos and tour information directly to the Blu-ray discs as the content becomes available.

Blu-ray's rival format HD DVD effectively died with maker Toshiba Corp.'s announcement in February that it will no longer produce HD DVD players.

Most of the Blu-ray discs manufactured so far have been used for high-definition movies.

Musical artists such as AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Destiny's Child released concert videos on Blu-ray discs, but Young's support of the technology for his ambitious archive project demonstrates more fully the capabilities of Blu-ray as a music medium.

Earlier technology didn't offer the ability to browse archive material while listening to songs in high-resolution audio, Young noted.

"Previous technology required unacceptable quality compromises," he said in a statement. "I am glad we waited and got it right."

Here are my thoughts on this.....

I think Neil Young has made a BIG mistake here. Blu-Ray has not been widely accepted by consumers at this point. It may happen eventually, but it is not there yet. Blu-Ray players are still very expensive.

Personally, I am not interested in having to watch and listen or be required to be in my house / living room and use my TV to play the damn thing. I know I'm getting old and becoming more of a laggard in the area of technology. But Neil needs to realize a lot of his fans are 50+ years old and not all of us are running out and buying plasma big screen TVs, Blu-Ray players, or PS3 boxes. I think he will find that a lot of his fans will decide to pass on this collection - which is a shame.

Most people (my self included) listen to music in their car or on the go. My car doesn't have a Blu-Ray player and I don't think it will anytime soon. Also, at this point, you can't rip the audio from a Blu-Ray disc to a CD or a portable device like an iPod. Of course I have to think that progammers will develop a utility program to do this before too long.

This may also turn out to be another nail in the record company's coffin as well. I have to think that if this box set tanks in terms of sales, the record companies will have some hard decisions to make about continuing down this path. But then again, when have the record companies ever listened to what their customers want?

What are your thoughts? Comments are welcome.


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