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Singing the Praises of Music DVD

24 Mar, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It's crazy time around here, as the staff of Home Media Retailing gears up for next Tuesday's first-ever Music DVD Conference, celebrating the birth of yet another business — like TV DVD — that really didn't exist in the VHS era.

Yes, Home Media Retailing is in the conference business — staging what I consider live stage supplements to our magazine, designed to shed even more light on topics relevant to today's home entertainment suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

I must admit, I didn't know much about music DVD when our publisher, Don Rosenberg, himself a veteran of the music business, suggested we do a music DVD conference. But I've had quite an education about this potent new business, a true child, like TV DVD, of the DVD era.

Concerts in the family room are fast becoming a regular occurrence in more and more homes. Just the other night, I introduced my kids to Cat Stevens' music, and then when they went to bed, I was mesmerized by Eric Clapton's rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on Concert for George.

The experts disagree on the size of the music DVD market — I've heard estimates as high as $2.7 billion, while others put it at a more moderate $1 billion, or roughly 10 percent of the overall music market — but there's little doubt that this business has yet to even approach its potential. Last year, a record 1,300 music DVDs came to market, according to The DVD Release Report — and we're starting to see dedicated music DVD sections spring up in retailers of all sizes, from independent music and video stores to the biggest of the big-box discount chains.

But as with every nascent business, challenges remain. Just how big can the music DVD market get, and what are the necessary steps to take it to the next level? Could the labels do a better job with marketing, and the retailers with merchandising? Will music DVD revive flagging music sales, either as a standalone business or as an added value to the CD? And what about new and emerging technologies like the DualDisc and the high-definition disc?

These are just some of the issues likely to be discussed, debated and digested at our conference. And as we so often do, parallel discussions will take place in our magazine, both online and in print.

With apologies to Kiki Dee, we've got the music in us.

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