DualDisc breaks sound barrier
Springsteen’s Devils & Dust arrives in stores today exclusively in the new DualDisc format √≥ a single disc with CD on one side, DVD on the other. Devils’ CD side is a traditional CD with 12 tracks, and the DVD has video of Springsteen talking about the music and performing five of the songs.
The booming DVD market is dominated by movies. But as CD sales have slipped in recent years, record labels have sought a way to make the visual medium work for musicians.
“There’s nothing more powerful than the moving image,” says Thomas Hesse, president of digital business for Sony BMG, which is releasing the Springsteen album. “You get more background flavor for what that artist stands for.”
The two-sided hybrid √≥ it can be played on either a DVD or CD player √≥ is the latest effort to steer listeners away from free Internet downloads and back into stores. Springsteen is the biggest artist to release an album exclusively on DualDisc.
The format of offering audio on one side of a disc and video on the other side is less than a year old. The first DualDisc was Simple Plan’s Still Not Getting Any from last October. Jennifer Lopez’s Rebirth and Omarion’s O were released as both CDs and DualDiscs this year, and about one-third of the sales were DualDiscs, according to Sony BMG, which also is releasing Springsteen’s Devils & Dust.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence from one of our biggest artists,” says Pete Howard, editor and publisher of Ice Magazine, which covers music CD trends.
Just like movie DVDs, DualDiscs allow performers to record commentary that can play over the songs, discussing the writing, recording and ideas behind the lyrics.
“It gives the artists an ability to get a lot closer to the fans,” says John Trickett, chairman and CEO of the 5.1 Entertainment Group, which has put out about 90 DualDiscs since October, many of them rereleases such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Then and Now, Blues Traveler’s Truth Be Told and Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Soul Rebels.
Some DualDiscs include documentaries that explain the origins of the recordings, such as the recent DualDisc rerelease of Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue.
Ice Magazine’s Howard says that will motivate some buyers who want to hear directly from the artists about their work.
But “it only works for some artists,” Howard says. “Bob Dylan has never explained how he wrote practically a single song. It could subtract from the mystique in a listener’s imagination.”
Springsteen’s DVD also has a non-visual music track of the album that allows the songs to be played in 5.1 surround sound through a DVD player, enveloping the listener with sound.
“The artists really like that,” Tricket says.
Devils & Dust retails for $18.98, about $1 more than music-only CDs. Many downloaders already have decided that cover art and CD packaging are worth sacrificing for free music, but they might have a harder time passing on the video.
“That, we hope, will drive people back to the store and away from taking a friend’s purchased disc and just ripping it or going to the Web and stealing it,” says Sony BMG’s Hesse.
Howard says DualDisc “will be successful. But will it be successful enough to save the music business?”
Other upcoming titles to be released on DualDisc include:
Nine Inch Nails’ With Teeth on May 3
Dave Matthews Band’s Stand Up on May 10.
For another great story on DualDiscs go HERE
DualDisc breaks sound barrier