Universal, Sony, EMI Plan Super Audio CD Titles

Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Saturday at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics show in Berlin that it will release a number of titles in the new Super Audio CD (SACD)

Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Saturday at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics show in Berlin that it will release a number of titles in the new Super Audio CD (SACD) format in the coming months, Billboard Bulletin reports. Sony Music, EMI, and ZTT Records are also planning new titles in the format, which was developed jointly by Philips and Sony.

UMG says it will release top-selling new titles and catalog material in SACD; the company did not specify artists involved. Many of the releases will incorporate the format's multi-channel Surround Sound capabilities. "With the increasing penetration of Super Audio CD players in the marketplace, UMG recognizes the substantial potential for this innovative new format," says Jorgen Larsen, chairman/CEO of Universal Music International. "The objective is to make Super Audio CD a standard for the industry."

SACD's high-quality stereo and multi-channel Surround Sound replicate as closely as possible the quality of a studio master. In addition, the technology incorporates a unique set of copyright-protection measures.

Sony Music titles set for release in the fall include Alice In Chains' "Greatest Hits," Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue," and Celine Dion's "All the Way: A Decade of Song." The company opened an SACD production center in London in 1999.

EMI is to release about 17 titles in coming months. Artists in discussion include Geri Halliwell, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Coldplay, Joe Cocker, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Tina Turner, and Paul McCartney. Also, the record company is establishing an SACD production center at its Abbey Road Recording Studios in London. The company's Virgin label -- which saw positive market reaction to Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' release on SACD in February -- plans to issue additional top artists in the format.

ZTT Records will release Frankie Goes To Hollywood's hits compilation "Rage Hard - the Sonic Collection" on the format in September.

To date, more than 400 SACD titles have been released in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Manufacturers such as Sony, Philips, Pioneer, Marantz, Sharp, Luxman, Accuphase, and Linn have introduced about 20 player models in Europe.