Weekly AUDIO NEWS for April 23, 2003

Universal Commits to DVD-Audio - Universal Music Group (UMG) - the world’s largest music company, has announced it will make recordings available on DVD-A, beginning with two U.S. releases in the second half of this year. UMG plans to make both top-selling artists and core catalog discs available on DVD-A in major worldwide markets. Most will be remixed from the original multitrack masters to take advantage of the advanced resolution surround quality of DVD-A, and many will include the bonus enhanced content of photos, lyrics, bios, discographies and videos. Universal’s Larry Kenswill said “The huge penetration of DVD makes DVD Audio a natural progression for music lovers who are already owners of DVD players...” Universal has already released about 45 stereo and multichannel SACDs in a continuing commitment to the other hi-res format.

Apple Considering Vivendi Universal Purchase? - Universal Music is also in the news of a hot rumor that Apple Computers is discussing possible purchase of UMG’s uber-corp Vivendi. Such a marriage of content and distribution could speed the sea changes in the recorded music industry. Apple’s successes with iTunes, iPod and audiovisual in general could spell an appealing facelift of UMG. But there is also speculation that Microsoft - still judged guilty of using its monopoly to unfairly restrict competition - is also looking seriously at Vivendi Universal. Some industry experts view such a possibility as a huge endangerment of free speech and competition. They point out that the domination of the digital distribution system from the server to the player would allow MS to limit the licensing of works to only MS-controlled properties such as MSN, inhibit other formats by imposing its proprietary technology such as Windows Media Player on all digital releases, restricting the availability of competitors’ works on MS-controlled properties, etc.

DVD-Audio in New Acura TL - The world’s first new-automotive application of multichannel DVD-Audio 5.1 sound is the Acura 2004 TL which was introduced last week at the New York International Auto Show. The high performance luxury sedan features the latest in high technology, including air jet nozzles replacing windshield wipers. In the audio area, the Acura will be fitted not only with a complete multi-speaker 5.1 surround system, but also an XM Satellite Radio antenna and receiver, plus Bluetooth wireless telephone connectivity.

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