CES: In addition to the announcement about Dark Side of the Moon on SACD, tonight’s SACD Press Event also revealed a number of upcoming SACD releases from several additional artists including Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and The Police.
Providing an overview of the SACD format, David Kawakami, SACD Project Director for North America noted that 20 years ago, Sony and Philips launched the CD format at CES. It proved to be a big success and stimulated the purchase of packaged music by the consumer.
Today, record sales have suffered through two successive years of decline. Kawakami feels that the record industry needs a new way to stimulate sales and suggests that the high quality sound offered by SACD may indeed prove to be such a catalyst to bring music buyers back to the stores.
The Bob Dylan Super Audio CD Series
Jeff Jones, Senior Vice President, Legacy Recordings was at tonight’s SACD Press Event to announce that Legacy would be issuing 15 classic Bob Dylan albums on Hybrid SACD disc this fall. Referring to the Bob Dylan albums as “one of the great treasures of American Music”, he said that the Dylan catalog would be the start of “an ongoing program to enhance and upgrade the sonic quality and packaging elements of the Dylan catalog.”
Like the earlier Rolling Stones Remastered series, these SACD discs will packaged in digipaks and will only be available as Hybrid Stereo SACDs – no Stereo CD version will be issued. However, unlike the Rolling Stones Remastered Series, the Dylan Hybrid SACDs will carry an SACD logo on the package according to Sony officials.
According to Jones, the Bob Dylan SACD series releases this fall will be:
- Free Wheelin’
- Another Side of Bob Dylan
- Bringing It All Back Home
- Highway 61 Revisited
- John Wesley Harding
- Nashville Skyline
- Blood On The Tracks
- Slow Train Coming
- Oh Mercy
- Time Out Of Mind
- Love and Theft
- Royal Albert Hall
- Street Legal
Jones said that
“The release of these classic Bob Dylan albums on hybrid SACD will extend the benefits of this exciting format to a much wider audience. Each of these Dylan titles will be reissued in stereo, and they will be carefully remastered and reproduced to the highest quality standards.”
Well known mastering engineer Greg Calbi, Senior Mastering Engineer at Sterling Sound in New York will be handling the remastering work on the Dylan SACD series reissues. Calbi’s credits include the mastering of John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges, Paul Simon’s Graceland and Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run albums.
Universal Music Announces SACDs from The Police and Peter Gabriel
Paul Bishow, New Formats Launch Director for the Universal Music Group was at tonight’s SACD event to announce the upcoming release of The Police Greatest Hits – Every Breath You Take: The Classics. The new Police Greatest Hits album will be a Hybrid Multichannel SACD with Multichannel SACD, Stereo SACD and Stereo CD versions of the best known hits by the group.
In addition, Bishow announced that the entire catalog of albums by the Police has been remastered and will be simultaneously released on both Stereo CD and Stereo SACD to help celebrate the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The catalog titles appearing on Stereo SACD disc will be:
- Outlandos D’ Amour
- Regatta de Blanc
- Zenyatta Mondatta
- Ghost in the Machine
- The Police Live
Universal Music Works On More SACD Releases
Paul Bishow told the attendees at the SACD News Event that it takes quite a bit of time and planning to prepare a new SACD release. According to Bishow, you need to indentify and locate the best sources for the album which would include a flat master for Stereo SACD releases and the original master tapes for albums to be remixed to surround sound for release as Multichannel SACDs.
Paul Bishow says that Universal Music has been “using the best master tapes available” for its SACD releases and “it shows”.
In the case of the John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”, several locations were searched before “a pristine master” was found in the U.K. This master tape was given to Rudy Van Gelder who used it in preparing the new SACD version of this jazz classic.
Universal Music has released approximately 20 SACDs to date and has “many more planned” for release during 2003 according to Bishow. Future Universal SACD releases will follow the pattern of the albums released to date. Namely, they will feature a mixture of new albums from best selling artists and classic catalog albums, stereo and multichannel/stereo tracks and both Hybrid Layer and Single Layer SACD disc configurations.
Bishow said that early consumer reaction to the Universal Music SACDs has been positive. Consumers have praised both the warm sound of Universal’s Stereo SACD releases and the exemplary sonics of Universal’s Multichannel SACD discs. As more new and catalog titles become available for release by Universal Music on SACD, Bishow says he hopes to get to a point this year where there will be a major list of SACD titles available for release every month.
In terms of specific upcoming SACDs, Bishow announced the following titles:
- Peter Gabriel – Up
- The Roots – Phrenology
- The Wallflowers – Red Letter Days
- Three Doors Down – Away From The Sun
- Shaggy – Lucky Day
In addition, Peter Gabriel is releasing his entire catalog on Stereo SACD disc. These SACDs are:
- 1, 2, 3
- Plays Live
- Birdy (Original Soundtrack)
- Passion: The Last Temptation of Christ (Original Soundtrack)
Universal Music also released a press release at the event. In it, Larry Kenswil, President, eLabs, Universal Music Group was quoted as saying
“By making our music available on SACD, UMG continues to bring consumers more choice in how they enjoy music, now in a high-quality, multi-channel format. With its many benefits for consumers and recording artists, Super Audio CD has the potential to become a standard for the industry.”
An SACD Update from Sony Music
At tonight’s SACD event, Leslie Cohen, Vice President, Business Development for Sony Music Entertainment, who David Kawakami introduced as the “Goddess of SACD at Sony Music” provided an update on Sony Music’s work with SACD. To date, Sony Music has released 200 SACDs, 60 of which are Multichannel SACD titles. Overall, the SACD format now has 1,000 titles worldwide with 700 of these titles available for purchase in the U.S.
In the weeks ahead, Sony Music will be releasing several new Multichannel SACDs to bolster their catalog. These releases include:
- Ozzy Osbourne – Live at Budokhan
- Stevie Ray Vaughn – Couldn’t Stand The Weather (now available as a Stereo SACD)
- Johnny Cash – Silver
- VH1 Divas Las Vegas: 2002 – Featuring Celine Dion, Cher, Dixie Chicks and Shakira
- Tony Bennett & k.d.Lang – A Wonderful World
Cohen also announced that Sony Music would be adding several more Multichannel and Stereo SACDs to their catalog in early 2003 including:
- James Taylor – Flag
- James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work
- Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic
- Macy Gray – New Album
There were also several upcoming Multichannel SACDs from Sony Music listed in the new January 2003 SACD U.S. Catalog handed out just prior to the event including:
- Mark O’Connor – Hot Swing Trio
- Keb Mo – Just Like You
- Blood, Sweat and Tears – Child is Father to the Man
- George Benson – White Rabbit
- A Chorus Line – Original Broadway Cast Recording
- Babatunde Olatunji – Drums of Passion
Sony Disc Manufacturing to Launch U.S. Hybrid SACD Production Line in May
While at the podium, Leslie Cohen also announced that Sony Disc Manufacturing (SDM) will install a new Hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) production line at their U.S. manufacturing facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. Production of Hybrid SACDs will begin at the Terre Haute plant in May 2003 and is scheduled to have an initial capacity of 15,000 Hybrid SACDs per day.
One of the initial projects at the plant will be the replication of the Hybrid SACDs for the Bob Dylan SACD series. SDM officials say they will also be making their Hybrid SACD replication services available to record labels outside the Sony Music family as well.
In a press release handed out at tonight’s event, Michael Mitchell, Vice President and General Manager, Sony Disc Manufacturing was quoted as stating that
“As a developer of the SACD format, Sony is dedicated to expanding the awareness for and broadening the acceptance of this trailblazing technology. Our new hybrid Super Audio CD line reflects Sony’s and Sony Music’s shared commitment to providing the most advanced recording and playback technologies so that every music fan can experience unsurpassed SACD sound quality on equipment that is fully compatible with their existing CD collection, stereo and home entertainment systems.”
Upcoming SACD Releases from Other Labels
While tonight’s event highlighted upcoming releases from Sony and Universal, I should also note that the new January 2003 SACD catalog lists several other record label releases of interest – headlined by a number of future Telarc albums. These include:
Single Layer Stereo SACD
- Roy Haynes – Love Letters (Eighty Eights)
- The Who – Sings My Generation: Deluxe Edition (MCA)
Hybrid Layer Stereo SACD
- Yuri Honing – Seven (Jazz in Motion)
- Martha’s Trouble – Still (Zoom Tone)
- Wendy & the Lost Boys – Wendy (Zoom Tone)
Single Layer Multichannel SACD
- Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (Motown)
Hybrid Layer Multichannel SACD
- Al Di Meola – Flesh on Flesh (Telarc)
- Boston Baroque – Handel: Music for Royal Fireworks (Telarc)
- Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops, Manhattan Transfer, John Pizzarelli, Janis Siegel – Got Swing! (Telarc)
- London Symphony Orchestra – Gliere: Symphony No. 3 (Telarc)
- Yolanda Kondonassis – The Romantic Harp (Telarc)
- Maria Muldaur – Southlan of the Heart (Telarc)
- Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – Mysterious Mountains (Telarc)
- Alison Krauss & Union Station – Live (Rounder)
- Pete Whitman X Tet – Where’s When (Artegra)
- Dave Hagedorn – Vignette (Artegra)
- Dolly Parton – Halos and Horns (Sugar Hill)
- Benoit Delbecq – Nu-Turn (Songlines)
- Mark Nodwell – Nemesis (Songlines)
- Kitaro – Daylight, Moonlight – Kitaro Live in Yakushji (Domo Records)
- London Mozart Players – Herschel: Contemporaries of Mozart (Chandos)
- London Symphony Orchestra – Williams: A London Symphony (Chandos)
- London Symphony Orchestra – Britten: War Requiem (Chandos)
Wurttembergische Philharmonie – Piazzolla: Tangos & Orchestral Works (Chandos)
Wrapping Up The Event
The event ended as it started. A series of 50 songs from current and upcoming Multichannel and Stereo SACDs were played through a 5.1 sound system set up by SACD Project DSD guru Gus Skinas. In fact, during the event Skinas replaced the usual club DJ at the dance mix desk.
Included in the selections were “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones, “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye, “Everyday” by Bon Jovi, “Why Not Me” by Ginuwine, “New Favorite: Live” by Alison Krauss & Union Station, “My Generation” by The Who, “He’s A Carioca” by Eden Atwood, “That’s Not Love” by Keb Mo, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, ” “She’s Not There” by the Zombies, “Slow Burn” by David Bowie from the “Heathen” SACD. In each case, a picture of the SACD album cover was flashed on the walls along with the artist’s name, album name and selection being played. As a bonus, the crowd also was treated to “Just Like A Woman” from Dylan’s current “Blonde on Blonde” Stereo SACD as an example of what we can expect sonically from the upcoming Bob Dylan SACD series.