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DualDisc Spins Success

31 May, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Fans, musicians and the music industry at large are starting to take hold of DualDisc.

Consumers have already purchased 2 million DualDiscs, according to a consortium of all the major labels, which launched the new product into the market earlier this year.

As of May 18, titles released on the CD/DVD hybrid DualDisc held the top-selling album spots on Billboard charts for four consecutive weeks. Leading the DualDisc charge were Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas' Something to Be (Atlantic/Warner Music Group); Bruce Springsteen's Devils & Dust (Columbia Records/Sony BMG); Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth (Interscope Records/Universal Music Group) and the Dave Matthews Band's Stand Up (RCA Records/Sony BMG). Of these top sellers, Something to Be and Devils & Dust were released only on the new hybrid product.

Something to Be sold 252,000 units its first week of release, according to 5.1 Entertainment. About 35 percent of sales from Stand Up came from the DualDisc format, according to Billboard reports.

“[DualDisc] is outperforming anything the labels have attempted in the last few years,” said Fred Fox, EVP of merchandising and marketing for retailer Trans World Entertainment, an early and eager backer of DualDisc.

Amazon.com is touting DualDisc with special offerings on its site. Consumers who buy DualDisc versions of albums also get free content such as audio streams of songs or commentary from the artists added to their “digital locker” on the site. Amazon also provides a link to a promotional spot explaining the concept of DualDisc attached to the homepage of every DualDisc release.

The consortium of music labels expects there will be a slate of 200 DualDiscs on store shelves by the fourth quarter. 5.1 Production has completed its 100th DualDisc title with the upcoming release of Lauren Ellis' Feels Like Family.

And there's more to come:

• The Backstreet Boys' first studio album in five years, Never Gone, will arrive on DualDisc June 14 from Jive Records with behind-the-scenes footage, the “Incomplete” video and a making-of documentary, as well as in-studio footage on the DVD side.

• Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects soundtrack hits the market on DualDisc from Hip-O Records/Universal Music Group June 28 with DVD features that include a 20-minute making-of featurette, a photo gallery and movie trailers.

• The Wallflowers have filmed an exclusive DualDisc documentary, “Rearrange,” following the group through exhaustive studio recording sessions reworking past hits. Rebel, Sweetheart hit DualDisc and CD May 24 from Universal Music Group.

“We didn't want to just stick on some old videos or make use of some scratchy footage that's been lying in a garage somewhere,” said frontman Jakob Dylan. The group's first DualDisc also includes an interview between the band and comedian Jon Lovitz as well as footage of The Wallflowers performing for naval troops on the USS John C. Stennis.

• Columbia Records is turning Chris Botti's Gold-selling album When I Fall in Love into a DualDisc to hit stores May 31. The hybrid will include a documentary titled “Standards in Real Time” on the making of the album.

• Beck's Guero (Interscope Records/Universal Music Group) is slated for a DualDisc release this year.

• Ben Folds' Songs for Silverman (Epic Records/Sony BMG) is out on the hybrid format with making-of and alternate performance footage.

Early this month, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released its official specifications and licensing program for the DualDisc.

The RIAA requires content holders to provide Redbook (the audio industry standard) compatible audio on the CD side of the DualDisc. The DVD side must carry the same audio content as the CD side of the same or better sound quality. The DualDiscs, which are thicker than CDs, have had a few compatibility problems. The CD side reportedly won't play on some computer systems and car CD players, according to DualDisc backers. They note providing the same audio content on the DVD side helps ensure greater access in the face of such playability issues.

The RIAA also requires a DVD navigation screen but places no requirements or restrictions on the amount of video content to be provided on any DualDisc.

“We are excited to do our part to broaden the acceptance and understanding of DualDisc,” said Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA.

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