Rolling Stone Magazine to Include SACD Surround Sound Disc

Sony and Rolling Stone Magazine have announced that they will team up to give away over 1.3 Million copies of a Surround Sound SACD disc in the magazine’s upcoming December 11th edition. That issue will feature a list of Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Albums of All Time. The promotion is being co-sponsored by Circuit City and Clear Channel Entertainment’s national radio network.

Interestingly, the promotion continues Sony’s recent practice of referring to Super Audio Compact Discs as «SA-CD» rather than «SACD».

Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums Issue
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, the December 11th issue of the magazine will be the «biggest issue of the year». They go on to say that «Each of the issue’s more than 1.3 million copies will contain a six-page gatefold that dramatically opens to reveal a multi-channel SA-CD hybrid disc sampler featuring music from some of Top 500 Albums. Like hundreds of other hybrid SA-CD titles, the disc includes both a high resolution stereo and a multi-channel version of each song — along with a version that can be used on virtually any home, car or portable CD player.»

SA-CD Sweepstakes at Circuit City
In addition to the six-page gatefold and SA-CD disc, there will be a two page ad that will detail an «SA-CD Sweepstakes». Rolling Stone Magazine readers will be encouraged to bring their SA-CD Top 500 disc to one of the 600+ Circuit City dealers where they will be able to hear it on a Surround Sound SACD system.

They will also be eligible to check and see if they have won a prize in the SA-CD Sweepstakes which will feature «over 45,000 prizes» including Sony «Dream System» Home Theater In A Box systems that include SA-CD Surround Sound and Hybrid Surround Sound SA-CD discs including Pink Floyd’s «Dark Side of the Moon», Norah Jones’ «Come Away With Me» and Bob Dylan’s «Blood on the Tracks». Winners will be readers who have a specially encoded SACD Sampler disc. Apparently there will be a way to tell if you are a winner by playing the Sampler Disc on an SACD player. Readers who do not have an SACD player can bring the disc to Circuit City for the sales staff there to determine if you are a prize winner.

The Rolling Stone Magazine 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and the SA-CD Sweepstakes will be featured on a radio special that will be broadcast on more than 200 Premiere Radio Network stations in the U.S. It is estimated that the «retail value» of the ad campaign for the Top 500 Album and SA-CD Sweepstakes campaign, which will run from November 21st (when the Top 500 Albums issue is scheduled to arrive at newsstands) until the end of the year, is over $20 Million.

Comments on the Top 500 Album/SA-CD Promotion
David Kawakami, Director of the Super Audio CD Project in North America said that «The expansion of SA-CD players and software into the mass market comes at a critical time for the music industry. Consequently a major promotion like this will help to heighten awareness of the format by enabling millions of Rolling Stone music enthusiasts to experience many of their favorite albums on SA-CD like they never have before».

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Jan Wenner stated that “We’re thrilled to be working with Sony on the Rolling Stone 500. I’ve been advocating in the pages of Rolling Stone for some time now that the music industry find new ways to reach the consumer with a reinvigorated product and marketing tactics and feel that Sony’s SA-CD format is leading the way. Our 11 million readers are music enthusiasts and strong adapters of new technologies which enhance their listening experience and Sony’s tieing in with our special issue is a great way to reach the reader with this format.»

In case you’re wondering about Wenner’s comment that the magazine has «11 Million readers» even though only 1.3 Million copies of the Top 500 Albums issue will be printed, Rolling Stone Magazine officials told me that their studies show that each copy is passed on to several additional people who read it. Hence the difference in numbers.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Albums Issue With A Surround Sound SA-CD Sampler Will Arrive on News Stands on November 21st