SACD Catalog Tops 1,600 With Over 320 Christmas Releases

Officials at the Super Audio Forum, a marketing association based in Europe that promotes adoption of the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) format announced that the total number of titles in the format has passed 1,600. A key ingredient in reaching this target were the Christmas season releases of the record labels putting out titles in the format. The Super Audio Forum also celebrated the successful completion of their first «Sound Shower» campaign in Germany that coincided with the Christmas holiday sales season in that market.

Super Audio CD Catalog Tops 1,600 Titles
The Super Audio Forum recently announced that the number of Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) titles on the market has passed the 1,600 mark. They attribute reaching this milestone to over 320 new releases from record labels issuing discs in the format during the «critical pre-Christmas sales period». Forum officials noted that there are now over 150 record labels that are issuing Super Audio CD discs.

Of the 1,600 discs now on the market, the forum says that a majority of the titles in the catalog are said to be hybrid layer, surround sound SACDs. These are discs that include a CD layer for compatibility with Compact Disc players as well as both Stereo and Surround Sound Super Audio CD tracks.

The increase in available titles has also led to an increase in SACD discs on the market. According to the Super Audio Forum, there will be 21 Million Super Audio CD discs «in circulation» by the end of the year. The Forum projects that this figure will increase to approximately 100 Million Super Audio CDs by the end of next year.

Comments from Universal Music
One of the key supporters of the SACD format, both in the U.S. and European markets, has been Universal Music. The company has been issuing Pop, Rock, Jazz and Classical Music titles in the format as well as operating a Single Layer SACD replication line in their disc manufacturing plant in Hanover, Germany.

Forum officials noted that Universal Music has added 78 titles to their Super Audio CD catalog worldwide during the Christmas season. This included several key worldwide releases by their best selling pop artists such as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John (Island Records B0001570-36), Sacred Love by Sting (A&M Records B0000872-36) and Up! by Shania Twain (Mercury Nashville B0000788-36) as well as some recent European releases including Destination by Ronan Keating (Polydor 06024-9865358) and Careful What You Wish For by Texas (Mercury 06024-9814471).

Dirk de Clippeleir, Director, New Formats at Universal Music International said that «Super Audio CD is an important new format for Universal. Its superb audio quality, CD compatibility and robust copy protection measures make the format ideally suited to our needs.»

The Christmas Sound Shower
To increase awareness of the SACD format during the Christmas holiday sales season, the European divisions of Universal Music, Philips and Sony teamed up to create «the Christmas Sound Shower». This was a marketing campaign led by the three companies throughout Germany. According to Super Audio Forum officials, the campaign resulted in over 3.5 Million German cinema fans being familiarized with the Super Audio CD format in the CinceStar and UFA Cinemas throughout the country during a 6 week period in October and November.

According to Florian Lamp of Universal Music Germany «In many ways cinemas represent the ideal environment to promote Super Audio CD. As a result of this campaign, we can detect a significantly higher level of awareness in SA-CD with more people buying players and their favourite music on the format.»

In addition to the campaign in the German cinemas, the Sound Shower campaign also involved ads in 20 different German publications including Der Spiegel and Playboy as well as a «point of sale promotion» in over 150 retail music stores in Germany. The print ads featured SACD titles from Sting, Shania Twain and Ronan Keating while the retail store element included the construction of Super Audio CD listening stations that featured «custom-designed Sound Showers». Each station included key SACD releases from Universal Music Germany’s record labels.

Dan Waite, International Marketing Manager at Universal Music International said that «The Christmas run-up represents a major opportunity to promote this fantastic surround sound format. Through this targeted campaign we demonstrated to a large audience how Super Audio CD creates a unique and powerful musical experience. Based on the success of this project in Germany, we intend to roll-out the Sound Showers in other key European markets.»
Careful What You Wish For by Texas (Mercury 06024-9814471) — Now Available on Surround Sound SACD in Europe