Sony BMG Sets Initial DualDisc Titles

Current, catalog releases bow Feb. 8.

After postponing a fall 2004 launch for DualDisc, Sony BMG is set to introduce its first titles in the format. The company will issue 18 titles Feb. 8, one Feb. 22 and two more March 1.

The launch will include current and catalog titles and will be followed by a second group of at least 10, tentatively scheduled for late March. Regular releases will follow thereafter, according to Sony BMG executives.

The Feb. 8 DualDisc releases are AC/DC, “Back in Black”; Avril Lavigne, "Under My Skin"; Joshua Bell, "Romance of the Violin"; David Bowie, "Reality"; Destiny's Child, "Destiny Fulfilled"; Five for Fighting, "The Battle for Everything"; Good Charlotte, The Young and the Hopeless"; Incubus, "A Crow Left of the Murder"; John Mayer, "Heavier Things"; Mercy Me, "Almost There"; Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue"; Switchfoot, "The Beautiful Letdown"; the 5 Browns, "Introducing the 5 Browns"; Train, "My Private Nation"; Usher, "8701"; Velvet Revolver, "Contraband"; "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone"; and the self-titled set by Los Lonely Boys.

Additionally, Omarion’s album "O" will see a simultaneous CD/DualDisc release on Feb. 22. Jennifer Lopez’s “Rebirth” and Judas Priest’s “Angel of Retribution” will be released on both CD and DualDisc on March 1.

“In December, our priorities were really focused on working our CDs,” Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG Global Digital Business, says of the postponed launch. “The last quarter was so busy for us that we felt we couldn’t give DualDisc the prominence the format would require and deserve. I think it’s the right decision: now we really have critical mass with the titles that we’ve put together.”

Sony BMG’s DualDiscs will carry an $18.98 suggested retail price, and will be packaged in a button case enveloped by a transparent O-card. Unlike the others, “Introducing the 5 Browns” will be a single-SKU release, says Hesse, existing only as a DualDisc.

Sony BMG will install between 2,500 and 2,800 custom product bins at retail locations, according to executives at the major.

DualDisc is a dual-sided CD/DVD hybrid, featuring standard two-channel 16-bit/44.1kHz audio on one side and multimedia content such as high-resolution, surround-sound audio mixes, videos and documentary footage, weblinks, liner notes and photos on the other. The product was test-marketed last year in Boston and Seattle by the major labels.

Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and the 5.1 Entertainment Group (the latter including the Silverline, Myutopia and immergent labels) have already introduced DualDisc titles.