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Retailers Prepare for This Week's Launch of DualDisc

18 Oct, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

“It's pretty hard to get music retailers to agree on anything,” said Bryan Everitt, director of music operations for Hastings Entertainment. “But across the board they're excited about DualDisc.”

The new dual-format disc, with CD content on one side and DVD content on the other, officially hits stores this week, with a selection of titles and additional waves of product in the fourth quarter.

All the major record labels as well as 5.1 Entertainment Group are supporting the DualDisc.

The packaging fits in with established music-store fixtures, and the price is right — just a few dollars difference from a CD in most cases, according to retailers. The music labels were able to offer pricing that brought the DualDisc to less than $20 at retail, retailers said.

If there's anything to complain about with regard to DualDisc, it's that retailers want more of it. “We would have loved to see all the manufacturers get together and to have rolled out collectively so that there's a ton of product available,” Everitt said. “And we would love to see some new releases put out on just the DualDisc format and not give the consumer the choice [of just the CD].”

Enough New Releases?
The labels have plenty of catalog titles slated for the format, but new releases are slim.

“I applaud WEA for jumping in there and being one of the first to get them out there and putting out new releases in the DualDisc format,” Everitt said, citing WEA/Warner Music Group's Oct. 26 bow of Simple Plan's Not Getting Any, which the label made available to retailers either as a DualDisc or a CD with a separate bonus DVD.“We're going to carry the DualDisc only, at least initially, and see how it goes,” Everitt said.

“We're very excited about it, and we will be supporting every release that comes out,” he added. “We're not burying [DualDisc] in the fixtures.”

So, Where's It Go?
All the music retailers interviewed said they'll be stocking the title alongside CD product in artist-specific racks.

“If you want a David Bowie title, you go to the David Bowie section,” said Larry Mansdorf, buyer for the Boston-headquartered Newbury Comics chain.

Newbury Comics was among the retailers testing the DualDisc earlier this year, to some success. Mansdorf said he thinks there's plenty of consumer interest, especially for new purchases. “It's not necessarily something that people will want to replace their current CD collections with, but going forward, they may choose it if it's an option,” he said.

Best Buy will likely offer DualDisc selections both in traditional CD racks and in specially themed displays, said Best Buy spokesperson Brian Lucas. The chain plans to promote the format for the holidays, although the main marketing push will likely come early next year.

Lucas and other retailers cited the versatility (it will play in existing CD or DVD hardware) and the 5.1 surround sound offered on the DVD side of each disc as major selling points, not to mention the behind-the-scenes extras, interview footage and music video content. “It's one of those things that seems to be able to deliver on the promise that it's making,” Lucas said.

Tower Records was also among the retailers testing the disc earlier this year. “I think we're far better aligned to make this work this time as opposed to the first time,” said Kevin Cassidy, EVP of sales and product, for Tower. Tower also will stock the product in music racks and is working with 5.1 Entertainment to have some DualDisc informational materials available for consumer and employee reference.

5.1 Entertainment recently announced it will release 25 DualDisc catalog releases — ranging from Blondie, Blues Traveler and Lynyrd Skynyrd to the London Symphony — Nov. 2 and will follow up with another 25 DualDiscs Nov. 16, featuring the likes of Bob Marley, Eddie Money and others.

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