In his January 18 article in Home Theater Review marketing consultant Garry Margolis explains why he feels previous high-definition disc-based delivery systems, including SACD and DVD-Audio, failed to achieve "traction" in the marketplace. He also holds out some hope that Profile 3.0 for Blu-ray discs may offer high definition audio via discs. The Norwegian label, 2L, has already released six discs that use the Profile 3.0 spec. But really, a new disc-based high-resolution audio? I think it has as much possibility of succeeding as, well, SACDs.
Why am I so pessimistic when it comes to disc-based high-rez? I feel that the major record labels could care less about ANY disc-based media delivery system. Discs are dead. Any format, any resolution rate, it doesn't matter, they are all in the twilight of their time on Earth.
Every major label is readying some form of cloud-based streaming music solution. To see what the P4P working group is up to look here at their home page. Notice the list of members at the bottom of the page - it reads like a who's who of high-tech major players.
Although most companies and countries also want to see file-sharing disappear, that ain't gonna happen any time soon. On Vancouver's Strait.com website you can read an article by Amy Elias that details what how integral to modern life file sharing has become. Another article about where media sourcing is going can be found in Virtualization Review about HP's cloud plans written by Jeffrey Schwartz.
The good news about all this cloud stuff is that it's as easy to make a high-def music file available and monetize its distribution as it is an MP3 file, and you can charge more for it. As sites develop it's not hard to imagine some may even be dedicated to high-rez streams. Just like HD Tracks, I think we'll see many other portals opening for high rez downloads - labels, bands, even symphony orchestras will be selling directly to their audiences.
While I believe that disc-based high-def is almost as dead as Federico Franco, downloads, streaming, and other web and cloud-based high-definition sources will soon be sprouting up to replace all these defunct silver discs. And I'll take it any way I can get it. High-def music, that is...