Help us change the world!


#1

A project that has long been on my mind is coming closer to being a reality and we need your help.

For many years I have been aghast at the way the music industry treats artists, recording and mastering experts. It’s basically awful. If you are a big star you do well, anything less and it’s hard to even make a living. And on top of that, we Audiophiles never have enough quality music at hand. There are people in this industry working through these issues in a fair and honorable way, Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records tops my list. There are others as well, like Chad Kassam of Acoustic Sounds. All working hard to preserve the quality and art in what we as listeners love.

But it’s a losing battle. Artists cannot make a living, recording studios as well as mastering facilities are dropping like flies. In their places are homebrew studios using Pro Tools and generally degrading the quality of recordings.

So I asked myself what is it PS Audio can do to help? And it occurred to us we could do our bit to change the dynamic, to fundamentally alter the way in which recording artists and studios are compensated. And we could do that with the support of our community of music and audio lovers willing to help.

Let me tell you what currently happens in all but a few instances. The distribution companies that publish and market music make the lion’s share of the money, many times in excess of 95% of all revenues generated. The meager remains are distributed back to the artists, the studios that recorded and mastered their work getting even less. Companies like Apple have done better, sharing 70% of the proceeds of music to the artist, 30% for themselves. This is fair and equitable and closer to the way it should be … only, the amount they charge for the music is so little that unless you are a mega star, there’s nothing in it to put food on the table and encourage the release of even more material.

So here’s what we are going to do. We have partnered with our good friend and world famous mastering engineer Gus Skinas, along with local high end recording studio Immersive, and a group of very excellent musicians (names can’t be told until the contracts are all signed, but they’re awesome) to make our first release on a new label we are starting, PS Records.

This first release, and probably most that follow, will be physical media copies, not downloads. There’s a whole philosophical thing we have about downloads and there’s not space enough to go into it here. Inside the physical media package will be two discs: a CD and a DVD. The CD will contain perfectly mastered copies of the original high resolution files. The DVD will contain both the original master DSD recordings as well as 176/24 PCM versions, so each package has three formats from which to enjoy, all mastered expertly by Gus Skinas on his system and curated and checked for final results in Music Room One on the IRSV.

We will also include a multi-page booklet, with not only a bio for each artist but the layout of the recording and photographs when we have them.

The model of distribution and reimbursement will be very different. In this version we will sell the discs around the world ourselves without going through dealers, for $39.95 each. After covering the physical costs of the package itself as well as its fulfilment (figure about $10) the balance of $30 is split 80/20, with 80% shared between the musicians and the recording people that made and funded the studio and mastering time. 20% will go to PS Audio, the distributor and marketer, with the hopes of making enough money to repeat the process and make more. This is not a money making venture for us, rather, we want the lion’s share to go where it belongs, in the hands of those that make the music.

It’s a very different, open architecture approach that we believe could change the face of the recording industry if it is both successful and then adopted by others. Fingers crossed on both accounts.

I bring this to your attention for several reasons, among them: we need to name the album and we need to start thinking about how we will spread the word to our fellow Audiophiles to help make this a success. In keeping with the originality of this venture, we have hired a photographer to shoot the front cover. Scott McCormick is a famous creative for album covers, having shot many. We gave him carte blanche and asked only that the cover reflect the same level of creativity and art direction as does the music inside. Attached is what he came up with. Yes, it’s a little dark in subject matter, but I love it!

Can you help us by suggesting names for this first work? The name of the album should reflect both the ‘thumbing our nose’ attitude toward the status quo of how artists and recordists are compensated and also reflect the care and beauty of what is inside. On this you will have to trust me, the sound quality is nothing short of breathtaking on all cuts. I have nearly fallen off my chair listening to them, so good they are and this is an album you will all treasure having.

Any help and suggestions as to the name and ideas of how to spread the word are greatly appreciated. We hope to release in late spring.

Some names that have already been suggested, but so far haven’t struck a chord are:

  • Needle tracks
  • It is broke, fix it
  • Found in translation
  • Master series
  • Direct Stream Collection
Cover1_NoText.jpg

#2

Very cool, Paul! An exciting, wonderful project.


#3

Great news, Paul. Please plan to make the offerings available with sampling so we can get a gist of what we’ll be buying.

For names, how about “No Middle”… a poke at the middleman of course. Or in a more spirit borne name, “Hand In Hand”, where the musical artist now comes much closer to having his/her hand touching the hand of the listener. I may have one or two more… (the first was a bit of a joke, of course)


#4

Thanks guys! Hopefully we can get the entire community to chime in.


#5

Sounds very worthwhile Paul and generous on your part. Wish you the best of luck. “Music Direct” comes to mind, but that name’s taken. “Artists First”?


#6

PS on YOU! That’s my title suggestion!


#7

Paul, this is a wonderful project – can’t wait to get my hands on the first release! I will buy it for the SQ and to support artists, even though I prefer not to purchase physical media nowadays; not filling up my house with plastic has became more attractive as time has gone on, for several reasons. I can make some educated guesses about why you aren’t making it available as downloads, but perhaps you would comment briefly on this.


#8

How about

“Just Desserts”

“Closer to What Matters Most”

“All’s Fair In Love and War”

Although I must admit I do like “PS On You”21_gif


#9
magister said Paul, this is a wonderful project -- can't wait to get my hands on the first release! I will buy it for the SQ and to support artists, even though I prefer not to purchase physical media nowadays; not filling up my house with plastic has became more attractive as time has gone on, for several reasons. I can make some educated guesses about why you aren't making it available as downloads, but perhaps you would comment briefly on this.
Thanks Magister! Of course we can always add downloads at any time but here's my thoughts on this. I believe many in our community struggle with downloads and then haven't a clue what to do with them. I know that, in my case, I rarely download anything and for several reasons: first, downloading only gives me two choices, to place them on my computer's hard drive or from there to burn physical media. While I have the Mac Mini in the sound room as well as bridge II, the majority of my listening for anything serious is still physical media on the PWT. Also, having something to hold in your hand still has an appeal for many people that increases the actual value of that which you hold. Then there's the booklet. We intend to produce a beautiful full color booklet with a full story of each artist, how the recordings were made, even how the cover photograph was constructed, plus a bit about the music project, how artists aren't treated right, the demise of recording studios, etc. It's probably going to be on the order of 25 pages. The booklet alone makes the download less valuable.

Bottom line, I think people, including myself, place a higher value on something we can hold in our hands.


#10

Agreed. A good exemplar is Jordi Savall’s Alia Vox label. Excellent recordings, beautifully packaged and presented replete with a wonderful booklet.


#11

Thanks Elk!


#12

Thanks, Paul. I completely understand the reasoning, and I myself do like nice booklets – even if I get a booklet with a download, reading it on my tablet in PDF form is not quite as nice as a printed version. But not having to get more bookcases and lug things around when I move is nice too. I would encourage you to make downloads an option (including the booklet).

You might consider getting a NAS rather than storing your files directly on the Mac. I got one for my music and later put all my data files on it. Now I can work from either my main computer upstairs or another computer downstairs and access any document. I usually listen to music in my main stereo, but I can also listen when working at the computer upstairs, and everything’s available – very convenient.


#13
We have partnered with our good friend and world famous mastering engineer Gus Skinas, along with local high end recording studio Immersive, and a group of very excellent musicians (names can't be told until the contracts are all signed, but they're awesome) to make our first release on a new label we are starting, PS Records...

Can you help us by suggesting names for this first work? The name of the album should reflect both the ‘thumbing our nose’ attitude toward the status quo of how artists and recordists are compensated and also reflect the care and beauty of what is inside…

Wonderful project! Can you give us a general sense of the type of music (it might help with suggesting names for the first release)?

#14

Great idea Paul.

When roughly do you expect the first disc to be issued?


#15

How about… The Real McCoy


#16

The concept is alive in the Jazz world. You might like to coordinate/discuss with Jerald Miller . Model differs, goal is similar.

See below (from their site).

“Nu Jazz Entertainment is a “Nu” company for a “Nu” Era! Led by Jerald Miller, Nu Jazz Entertainment was launched in the new millennium to help present the best in jazz music & video in a manner befitting its legacy. A landmark new media company, Nu Jazz Records and Nu Jazz Video produces all of its audio and video releases exclusively for digital download.”


#17

How about a play on a common colloquialism for going where your not supposed to, but also for hidden treasure… “Pandoras Music Box”


#18

Transformation

Om or Ohm?

Underground

Inner Eye

Mind’s Eye

Light Flood


#19

Paul, this is great. Good luck with is venture. I am sure this community will fully support this. As far a a name, a few options come to mind.

  1. Getting My Fix Without You

  2. Karma Comes My Way

  3. We Found Another Way

  4. Changing the Status Quo

  5. Feeding My Soul and Family Without You

  6. A Better Way

Bob


#20
scotte1 said
Wonderful project! Can you give us a general sense of the type of music (it might help with suggesting names for the first release)?
Boy, it's all over the map. There's a classical piece with piano and cello, then a bluegrass, rock, an amazing synthesizer and vocal, several acapellas etc. We're working on signing the musicians, some of which are famous, so when we get closer I'll start posting some of the videos of the recording sessions so you can hear and see what we've done.