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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Sept. 5, 2001

BMG Leans Toward DVD-Audio - Coming on the heels of the announcement by Universal Music Group that they are going to be supporting the SACD format with many releases in both stereo and multichannel, contacts at Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) have indicated that although they do not plan any high resolution audio releases immediately, when they do take that step the format they will support will be DVD-Audio. Issuing in either of the formats will probably be a boon to any of the labels - it gives them the opportunity to re-sell their back catalog of recordings yet again.

Thus two of the major labels are at loggerheads on the two new formats, causing consternation and frustration to many in the music industry as well as consumers. "Early adopter" multichannel audiophiles are in a tizzy about the problems involved in not only purchasing new separate players (the first "universal" players not meeting their standards), but also the challenges of finding suitable six-channel analog devices for control and switching between the two high-res formats. (Most surround receivers still lack six-channel analog inputs.)

Price Drop on SACD Players - In addition to the SCD-775 at $400 (which we will be reviewing in our October issue), Sony Corporation has recently introduced two more lower-priced SACD players - a multichannel SACD/CD player (SCD-XE670) and a combination SACD/CD/DVD Video player (DVP-NS500V) - both retailing at $299.

Net Broadcasters Shutting Down - Both terrestrial radio stations who simulcast on the Web and the many outlets who are strictly web-based have been struck hard by new rules on advertising fees and music royalties. In the battle between stations, performing artists, unions and the FCC, many broadcasters have had to cease their web streaming activities. In some cases the new fees are retroactive to the time webcasting by the particular broadcaster first started. As a result, if you check out lists of the web audio services in a facility such as RealPlayer or iTunes you will find many that are simply no longer there.

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