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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 29, 2003

iTunes for Windows Splash - Apple announced that PC users have downloaded over one million copies of the new iTunes for Windows digital jukebox software in just 3 1/2 days. Over one million songs were purchased and downloaded in the same period. Fourteen million songs have been downloaded since the service began for Mac OSX users only earlier this year - making it the No. 1 download music service in the world.

Third Satellite TV Service Coming - VOOM is the new direct broadcast satellite service to be offered - surprisingly - by Cablevision Systems. Their chief believes there are different roles for both wired and satellite services - the first for standard-def programs, pay-per-view and interactive services and satellite for one-way products such as HDTV. There is a tie-in with Sears stores. The launch, which was scheduled for this week at the latest (but no further information forthcoming), will introduce 28 to 30 hi-def channels, of which 21 will be exclusive to VOOM. Select channels include HD Rave - the first HD music channel, HD Ultra - a fashion/home/travel channel, and HD Monsters for horror in hi-def.

Increasing Hi-Res Release Activity - Universal Music has new SACD releases by rap and soul artists as well as Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Coming up are two by George Thorogood, The Who’s rock opera Tommy, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Elvis Costello, John Haitt and Randy Newman (the Seabiscuit soundtrack). Sony Music has SACDs by Kelly Rowland and Barbra Streisand (The Movie Album), David Bowie (Reality), James Carter (Gardenias for Lady Day), and Volodos (Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto & Rachmaninoff solo works). Artist House Records has released an SACD by San Francisco jazz composer/pianist Vijay Iyer titled Blood Sutra. Chesky Records announced they are reinstating their DVD Audio releases. David Chesky said they had not been so successful selling their first DVD-A discs (such as the superb Bucky Pizzarelli), but felt the market had moved forward since their last release and hope to issue their releases in both hi-res formats after this. On the other hi-res front - vinyl - Classic Records has delayed until further notice their planned Bob Dylan Signature LP Series, which was to have been 15 Dylan titles on Quiex 200-gram vinyl. They said Sony is holding up licensing due to considering developing the vinyl marketplace.

Big-time CD Copy-Protection Next - Like it or not major labels such as Arista and BMG have announced beginning introduction of copy-protection on some of their standard CDs. They say the protected discs will play anywhere an Enhanced CD will play (but those don’t play everywhere). They are also incompatible with Apple’s iPod - requiring Microsoft’s Windows Media instead - meaning that both PC and Mac owners of iPods will be unable to copy music from new CDs they have purchased to their iPod for mobile listening. Thankxalot, music industry...

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