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Music-on-DVD Options Far Exceed Any Envisioned for VHS

8 Jun, 2001 By: Ralph Tribbey

"Better picture, better sound" is the mantra of DVD.The sound options for music on DVD far outweigh anything remotely available for the old analog VHS delivery system, where the best that could be hoped for was stereo. DVD has revolutionized the whole music format with the promise of 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS audio options, plus a better picture, chapter markers and bonus material packages not envisioned for VHS.

The music-on-DVD phenomenon is not limited to recycled music video clips created to promote bands on MTV, VH-1 and the like, but extends tofull-length concert presentations, including original productions createdspecifically for the format; operas; musical stage productions; classicalorchestral renditions; and more.

Thus, it is little wonder that one in every 10 DVD titles released since the inception of the format has come from a musical source.

Through May 31, 2001, 1,085 DVD music-oriented titles have been delivered to consumers; this number does not include any of the numerous theatrical musicals, karaoke or DVD audio releases.

While the "big five" (Universal, BMG, WEA, Sony and EMD) dominate the record industry, accounting for an 85% market share (SoundScan asof May 20), their collective share of the DVD release market is a paltry32.5%.

The leading source for DVD music is Image Entertainment, which maintains an iron grip on the lead with a 26% share of the market. It bestsits next two closest competitors, Sony (11.8%) and Pioneer (10%), combined.

Image has accomplished this with original productions, such as Don Henley: Live Inside Job and an across-the-board blend of classical music, opera, rock compilations, jazz, country and branded product lines, such as "BET on Jazz," "Sounds Magnificent" (classical renditions), "Classic Albums” (featuring the likes of Paul Simon, Meat Loaf and Steely Dan) and the "Jubilaeum 2000" series.

For the month of August alone, the company has announced 14 new music DVD offerings, including its own concert production of Randy Travis: Live — ItWas Just a Matter of Time. The 83-minute live performance features 17 songs and bonus tracks presentedwith both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 5.1 DTS audio options.

Sony Music, which ranks second in both the recorded and DVD-music fields with 18.3% and 11.8% market shares respectively, has combinedartist-driven presentations (Celine Dion, Charlotte Church, Gloria Estefan,Ricky Martin, etc.) with a strong blend of classical presentations, many of which feature former Berlin Philharmonic music director Herbert Von Karajan.

Pioneer Entertainment ranks third among DVD music product suppliers with a 10% release share, which includes such product lines as "Bestof MusikLaden," Windham Hill, and an extensive collection of classical presentationsfrom the Metropolitan Opera.

Rounding out the top five are Warner with a 9.4% market release share (which represents the combined releases of Warner Music, HBO, Warner Home Video and Rhino Home Video) and BMG Entertainment with a 7hare of the DVD music market.

The top five DVD-music sources combine for 64.2% of the market pie, leaving more than one in three DVD music releases to come from othersources, including recording market giants Universal (27.6% of the record market) and Capitol/EMI (11.1% of the record market), who account for 2.4% and 1.5% of the DVD music release market respectively.

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