The Next Dead Audio Format is Here

This morning I woke to the news that someone is going to release a new audio disc format using the BluRay technology. This came from the Engadget post Sony turns CDs blue with new Blu-spec CD standard , who gets the news from a translated Japanese website. The discs will allegedly play with a blue laser (BluRay format) and a red laser (red book CD spec). Audio quality will be higher, as expected, on the BluRay version. The discs are also expected to cost somewhere between $25 and $42 at launch.

The music industry attempted this dog and pony show before with the DVD-A and SA-CD formats. Each were promised as the future of music, but in the end each were failures. The discs are still manufactured, but the formats have not hit the mainstream in terms of popularity. I know this because when my wife and I upgraded our home theater, I went to every store I could think of to attempt to find some SA-CD or DVD-A discs with no luck. Not one employee I spoke to knew what I was talking about. When in San Francisco I asked at Amoeba Music and was given a blank stare. Eventually I ordered some off the internet.

What people crave on an audio disc isn’t high quality. The public can barely tell the difference between a poorly encoded mp3 and CD quality anymore. The public craves high QUANTITY. A Blu Ray double layered disc holds about 50 GB of data, which is equal to about eighty 74 minute CDs. With that amount of data, discographies or entire tour of music could be released on one disc.

If Sony adopted an audio format that used current CD standards for the music on the disc, we could fit nearly one hundred hours of audio on to one disc. How valuable would it be to you to have all of the Beatles’ recorded collection on one disc? How about a complete collection of one year of Pearl Jam’s live show? Certainly more than $42.