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DualDisc as a De Facto Standard CD Offering

TelecomTV reports that the audio compact disc (CD) format is -- according to Alain Levy, the chairman and CEO of EMI Music -- stone dead and has been for some time.

Mr. Levy, speaking at the London Business School, said "The CD as it is right now is dead, and music companies will no longer be able to sell them without offering 'value-added' material along with them. By the beginning of next year, none of our content will be without any additional material."

Revealing that the latest research shows that 60 percent of consumers now routinely put CDs into home computers to transfer music tracks to portable MP3 players, Mr. Levy went on to say that record companies will have to take action if CDs are to survive for very much longer as a replay medium.

The EMI Music CEO does admit that, for the time being at least, physical media still has a place in the hearts and minds of the buying public, but he says, "henceforth we will have to be much more innovative in the way we sell physical content."

This commentary takes me back to the fall of 2004 when I received several DualDisc promotional review copies, just as the then new 2-sided multimedia disc format launched. I recall thinking at the time, one day all music will be published with companion video material on DVD. Apparently, that day may have finally arrived.

FYI, the first side of every DualDisc contains a full CD audio album, and the DVD side provides the same album in enhanced sound (5.1 Surround Sound), along with such multimedia features as music videos, documentary footage, photo galleries, web links, etc. Clearly, DualDisc was intended to add an exciting new dimension to the consumer's musical experience.

Two of those early DualDisc review copies influenced my very positive first impression. IMHO, the David Bowie album "Reality" is a perfect example of how to creatively apply this digital media format. The DVD side includes the film "Reality" -- along with about 30 minutes of exclusive video performances of several tracks; plus a photo gallery, lyrics, biography, discography, etc.

The DualDisc version of the Miles Davis classic album entitled "Kind of Blue" demonstrates how archive material can also be creatively packaged to take advantage of this format and produce a unique collector’s edition of jazz history that includes the remarkable track, "So What." Originally recorded in 1959, this DualDisc set also has a bonus track (not available on the original LP).

The DVD side features a 25 minute documentary entitled "Made In Heaven" that tells the story of the creation and impact of this masterpiece, along with previously unreleased studio content that features Davis and the other members of the sextet. The DualDisc collection also includes newly-discovered photos, plus interviews with Bill Cosby, Herbie Hancock and others that were captured on black and white film.

If DualDisc becomes the 'de facto standard' physical digital media format for the music recording industry, then I have but one question to ask -- why did we have to wait two years to move beyond the early-adopter stage of market development? There's so much raw potential in the DualDisc format that's yet to be realized. So, let's get busy.

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