Audio News for October 17, 2011

by | Oct 18, 2011 | Audio News

Star Wars and Thor 3D Push Up Blu-ray Sales – The two films arrived on video September 13 and together sold over one million units in the first week on the market. 50% of the sales were on DVD, and the rest were Blu-ray/DVD combo packs or 3D BD. Enthusiastic Star Wars fans bought 400,000 units of the iconic series on BD – a nine-disc set covering the six movies – in just the first three days. The $140 SRP was heavily discounted, with Wal-Mart charging $80.  The set includes new archive materials from Episodes IV, V & VI plus new interviews and documentaries. The impressive sales of the Star Wars BD set marks a turning point for physical video sales this year. The premium-priced Complete Saga outsold in the first week the Toy Story Trilogy BD, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy BD, and the LOTR Trilogy Extended Edition BD—exceptional for a a film property which has long been a fixture in the video libraries of many U.S. homes. The Thor 3D BD also sold over a million copies during its first week. Weekly unit sales comparisons for BD have gone from a 60% year-over-year increase to a 131% increase, to 156% growth with the release of Star Wars and Thor. Although standard DVD sales have fallen, this points to brighter days ahead for the overall market for movies on disc, according to a new IHS report: “Star Wars Shines in its BD Debut.”
New D/A/D Gadget for Improved Digital Sound – Clasp stands for Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor and it is a new hybrid technology which performers such as Aerosmith, KISS and Taylor Swift are using to make recordings combining the inviting sound of analog with the flexibility of digital production and editing. Many artists prefer the warmer, detailed, musical sound of analog in this digital world. Clasp is a product of Christopher Estes’ company, Endless Analog. He was frustrated by the overall sound of pure digital recording and decided to so something about it.  Clasp routes audio signals thru an analog tape medium, but uses a computer/digital workstation for storage and editing. There have been other previous products to insert analog timbres into digital files.
Classical Music News – Roger Williams, the virtuoso pianist who topped the Billboard pop chart in the 1950s with Autumn Leaves—the best-selling piano recording of all time— died Saturday at age 87.  He effortlessly switched among musical styles, and was nicknamed the “Pianist to the Presidents.” He played for every commander-in-chief from Truman to George H.W. Bush. Some of his other hits included Born Free, The Impossible Dream and Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago.
Daniel Barenboim has been named music director of the La Scala Opera. The 69-year-old Argentine-born conductor is also general music director of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and chief conductor for life of the Staatskapelle Berlin.  He succeeds Riccardo Muti at La Scala, who left in 2005 due to issues with the management and musicians.
It is currently unknown whether Fabio Luisi will succeed James Levine as music director of the Metropolitan Opera. He has already cancelled previous commitments and even moved his family to New York City. The Los Angeles Times Mark Swed says he is a plaint conductor who will serve a general manager’s agenda rather than set his own.  Rattle, Barenboim and Muti are also under consideration.

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