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EMI and BMG Ramp-up Support For DVD-Audio With New Titles Scheduled For The Holidays Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 October 2003
It has been clear in the audio format war Sony Music has been behind SACD and Warner Brothers (WEA) have been the driving force behind DVD-Audio even since the holy audio war erupted. Universal Music Group (UMG) had at first pledged its support for SACD but now they rest gently right on the middle of the fence having shipped their first batch of DVD-Audio titles.

The question is what are the two other majors doing with the new formats? EMI has released about a dozen titles on DVD-Audio to date and have a limited number of new titles coming from artists like Bonnie Raitt (Nick of Time) and more Beach Boys (Surf’s Up) and as many as eight other titles to be released by March 2004. Perhaps more significantly, EMI has partnered with DTS Entertainment, long respected for creating the highest quality DVD-Audio surround mixes and packaging, for a large number of back catalog titles for the new format. Sources on both sides of the EMI/DTS deal say the exact titles are not yet decided on or agreed to by the artists but it is clear EMI is going to use DTS to subcontract the production of the titles while EMI will distribute them globally. BMG had been very quiet on the high-resolution audio format front other than a release of an Elvis “Best Of” compilation but is coming to the market with some of the most exciting new titles for DVD-Audio before Thanksgiving. What is notable about the BMG titles is that unlike the other labels, the music (Foo Fighters, Outkast, Usher and Wyclef) appeals to younger, more technically savvy Gen X audiences as well as titles for their Baby Boomer parents.
Upcoming BMG DVD-Audio Titles

- Outkast - Stankonia (Arista Records)
- Usher - 8701 (Arista)
- Santana - Supernatural (Arista)
- Santana - Shaman
- Luther Vandross - Dance With My Father (RCA Music Group)
- Wyclef Jean - The Preacher's Son (RCA Music Group)
- Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor (RCA Music Group)
- Foo Fighters - One By One (RCA Music Group)
- Rod Stewart - It Had To Be You... The Great American Song Book (RCA Music Group)

Sony is by no means giving up on SACD at this point (despite recent rumors) with recent new titles including a surround sound remix of Aerosmith’s classic Toys in the Attic. This holiday season might be an early real-world barometer for the new audio formats. No label is jumping into DVD-Audio or SACD with both feet until they see significant consumer support. The problem is consumers are holding out to see enough label support to make hardware upgrades and the commitment to change the media they buy their music on.

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