DGG & Decca Launch Global Concert Hall – Digital downloads of complete concerts combined with traditional CDs are the model for Universal Music Group’s Global Concert Hall. Through partnerships with leading symphony orchestras around the world the two labels will release an average of four live concert recordings per orchestra each year for digital downloading only. The highlight concert of the season may also be released on a commercial CD. The labels feel that the project will broaden the range of recorded orchestral repertory in the face of the financial and logistical challenges which have hampered major label symphonic recording in recent years. It will also bring attention to the world’s leading orchestras and the cultural life of their respective cities. The recordings will be available for downloading much faster than traditional CD releases and listeners will have a choice of purchasing a movement, an entire work, or the entire virtual concert at the same price as a standard CD. The two series are called DG Concerts and Decca Concerts. The first orchestras scheduled include the New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Two concerts by the latter orchestra are available now, recorded last month and featuring music of Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen and Arvo Paart. iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster will be online partners for the downloads.
Digital 3D Movies Startup – The local cineplex is having a tough time. Movie attendance is down 13% since 2002. In 1948 90 million people went to the movies weekly; today the figure is 30 million. Beverly Hills-based Real D Corporation thinks it has the answer. It has installed $250,000 digital projection systems in 96 theaters in the U.S., and in the opening weekend showings of Disney’s Chicken Little in 3D it grossed more than double the take of the standard screenings of the film. Unlike past 3D movies, the Real D system requires only a single projector, has a bright screen image, and the well-designed plastic glasses are comfortable and don’t cause headaches as the primitive red/green glasses did. So far it’s easier to do animated features in 3D; Columbia Pictures has signed up to release new animated films in Real D and it is hoped the projection system will be in more than 1000 theaters by next year. Director James Cameron has said he will make only 3D films from now on.