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Sony: SACD Disc Sales Not That Bad

Music industry statistics showed plummeting unit sales of SACD discs in the first half, but Sony says the statistics reflect a penchant by music labels to code hybrid CD/SACD discs of big releases, such as Rolling Stones’ albums, as CDs to get them in the CD section of music retailers.

“The last number in the bar codes of discs designates configuration” said David Kawakami of Sony’s SACD Project. The number two designates CD, he said, and “most labels agree six is an SACD.” He continued, “On the big releases like the Rolling Stones and Sting, with the label goal of keeping it in the CD section, are coding them [hybrids] with the number two.”

SoundScan, which tracks music-software sales, has only recently set up the ability to capture the six designation,” he added.

First-half manufacturer-level sales of SACD discs fell 54.2 percent in the first half to 300,000 units, for a retail value of $6.7 million, the RIAA announced earlier this year.

Telarc’s president Bob Woods speculated that the numbers might reflect scaled-back purchases by Best Buy, which he said “jumped on early in the game” but “aren’t buying as much as they did at the beginning.” The retail accounted for a high percentage of small market. It will take “five to seven years before it hits,” he said.

For its part, DADC continues to replicate SACD discs and will increase output as demand rises, said marketing manager Shelley Klingerman. Also, Sony BMG Music Entertainment continues to release SACD titles, a spokesman said without providing details.