Originally Posted by analogsurviver
No, you have missed the bussines fears/psychology with Betamax/VHS /casette - with those, one could make a copy, either for personal use or illegal distribution - but that copy WAS inferiour to the original from which it was copied, let alone the master. Digital download, if really of a master, is every bit by bit clone of the #1 master recording - if download went as it should, it is the exact replica and indistinguishable from the original in quality. Most you could do is to assign the serial # to the download and trace down from which # download illegal copies stem - if you menage to get any of the illegals. In practice, next to impossible and very costly.
Absolutely worst case scenario - the #0001 download gets copied/redistributed godzillion of times - just imagine what that means to the artist. With present technology, entirely possible. That is why real digital masters are not available for download.
First, as an insider, you should know better than most that individual album sales impact the Labels (capital L) far, far more than they do the artist. The vast majority of artists on major labels are getting only a few percentage points of conventional label CD sales, so your indirect claim of artists impacted by piracy are crocodile tears. If there was no money in the digital age for artists, there would be a lack of music available; after all artists have to eat, right? Instead, there are more artists, music in more formats and more new genres today than ever. It's the long-tail distribution scheme.
Next, pre-release albums get leaked all the time. I haven't heard of one example yet where it has impacted formal album sales to the point where the Label ended up losing money on a particular release due to lost sales directly linked to the early leak. They may have lost money because they signed a big-name artist who subsequently spent millions recording a crap album, but that's not the same issue.
Then, what does it matter if it's mp3 or master quality? You (or industry insiders) are worried that people will listen to master tape quality recordings ... on an IPod and a pair of earbuds or Beats? Or on a car stereo system? since that is the vast majority of what users today are listening to. (All things considered, the user base here on Head-Fi who are invested in high level reproduction where master tape fidelity would actually make a difference is a tiny tiny fraction of the global music user base). No, the people who care enough about that level of quality reproduction (i.e. master tape level) are the same ones who will pay for most of their purchases; people like me.
Your arguments here are just not convincing in any pragmatic way. It's the same pablum preached by the industry for the last decade, and it's more due to internal politics, as well as a complete inability to a) understand how their customers use the product and b) their collective unwillingness to adapt a business model and market where they no longer have a monopoly on distribution and can't demand the user pay the extortionate rates they did in the pre-Napster days. Sorry, but that genie is not going back in the bottle, and good riddance.
The distribution format I like currently is used by Bandcamp and others, where you can choose to download low-fi mp3s free, donate a small amount or pay for higher quality lossless formats. Regardless of the distribution or format method, the success of Amazon.com shows that the "long-tail" distribution strategy is both extremely profitable and vital. That the music industry can't wrap their heads around this is both pathetic and unsurprising.
Is piracy real? Sure it is. I am not denying that, and debating the impact depends upon whose numbers you look at (so that's not the topic here). What I am saying is that the market for DSD and verbatim-quality files is real, and it will be profitable, but the industry needs to get over its analysis-paralysis and get off its hands to make it happen. When that happens, hardware manufacturers like Jason and Mike will follow.