With a release date of November 7th, in time for the holiday shopping season, Warner Music Group (WMG) becomes the first of the major music companies to offer albums in the DVD-Audio format. The new format, which features Advanced Resolution (TM), multi-channel audio that dramatically enhances the listening experience, is the most significant industry format launch since the introduction of the CD nearly twenty years ago.
The first releases are: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin; Core, by Stone Temple Pilots; Tigerlily, by Natalie Merchant; Johann Strauss in Berlin, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt with the Berlin Philharmonic; Brain Salad Surgery, by Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Hommage a l’Orchestre Lamoureux: Chabrier’s Espana & Ravel’s Bolero, with Orchestre Lamoureux conducted by Yutaka Sado; and The Bedroom Mixes, by the Jazz At The Movies Band. Regular monthly releases will follow. All of the recordings have been remixed from the original masters to take advantage of the optimal surround and stereo sound quality.
All albums released from WMG labels will offer consumers the flexibility of being able to be played in three ways: first, in Advanced Resolution surround sound; second, in Advanced Resolution stereo; and third, for those who own a DVD-Video player but have not yet upgraded to DVD-Audio, DVD-Video compatible Dolby® Digital surround. This last feature will enable the discs to be played in the nearly 10 million DVD-Video players already in U.S. homes.
With a sampling rate and bit depth that at least doubles the resolution for the current CD standard, DVD-Audio discs deliver sound quality that is significantly closer to the master recording than is possible with CDs. Importantly, conventional CDs can be played on DVD-Audio/Video players. DVD-Audio’s most outstanding feature — surround sound — opens up the sound field, giving artists a wider palette to use in presenting their music. Beyond this enhanced listening experience, DVD-Audio discs offer many other unique features to increase the enjoyment of this new format: in addition to DVD-Video quality music videos and artist commentary, when played on new DVD-Audio players, ‘visual menus’ with remote navigation may also offer access to photo gallery still pictures, artist bios, discography and credits or song lyrics viewable during Advanced Resolution playback.
Additional artists whose work is already in development for future release include: Barenaked Ladies, Barenboim conducting Beethoven’s complete symphonies, Buena Vista Social Club, Tracy Chapman, Alice Cooper, The Corrs, Olu Dara, Miles Davis, Deep Purple, The Doors, Firesign Theatre, Bela Fleck, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Fourplay, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, k.d. lang, Zubin Mehta conducting Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mehta conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Metallica, Pat Metheny, Luis Miguel, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart and Take 6.
And where one major company dares to venture, we’re sure that others will follow…