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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for November 6, 2002

DVD-Audio News - The record labels, manufacturers and mastering engineers involved in DVD-Audio are currently engaged in a "re-launch" in case you didn't know it. One of the new goals is to aim releases at the mass youth market instead of just audiophiles. At a press event recently, an EMI executive said we would be seeing an "amazing selection" of DVD A titles from them. A DVD-A consultant said most mastering engineers won't touch watermarking, and it has to be added in the authoring step. He said that even though watermarking creates an audible distortion it will not deter music lovers from buying discs.

Some statistics were also shared: 12 manufacturers currently have 40 DVD-A players on the market. It is expected that by 2004 9.9 million DVD-V players will also be capable of playing DVD-A. Warner Bros. said they have sold 170,000 DVD-A discs to consumers in the past two years. A big challenge for DVD-A is how to sell it both to audiophiles - many of whom still prefer the highest-resolution stereo (misguided clowns!...Ed.), and the mass market - who likely prefer surround sound at lower resolution and with extra features. (All multichannel SACDs, by the way, boast a separate, purpose-made, hi-res stereo mix.)

In other DVD-A news, Dolby Labs announced last week the introduction of the first computer soundcard providing DVD-Audio playback on PCs. Creative Technology Limited is the maker of Sound Blaster Audigy 2, which will deliver up to six discrete channels of advanced resolution 96K/24 bit or two of 192K/24 bit. The new innovation is seen as part of the "Dolby in PC" strategy, in which the licensing firm seeks to expand its presence in the PC market as it has in traditional entertainment-oriented consumer electronics.

Something Else for Major Labels to Worry About - Elvis, The Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi currently hold the top spots on Billboard's pop chart. Although the major classical labels are now existing primarily on similar reissuing of back catalog, the "historic" angle is nothing like that there. What's the A & R department doing these days, or is there one?

Quick & Dirty Solution to Music Piracy - The Washington D.C. City Paper reported that certain record labels have taken to sending reviewers advance copies of new CD releases actually glued into portable CD players in an effort to prevent journalists from ripping MP3s off them!

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