Sony Music Changes Beyonce SACD to Europe Only Release

Sony Music has announced that the upcoming Surround Sound Super Audio CD of Dangerously in Love by Beyonce Knowles will not be available in the U.S. market. It will, however, be released in Surround Sound SACD in Europe on May 10th as previously scheduled. (Prior to the announcement from Sony Music, the album had also been scheduled for release in the U.S. in Surround Sound SACD on April 6th.)

Publishing Issues in the U.S.
Sony Music officials indicated that the change in plans was due to «publishing issues» encountered in the U.S. market. This involves the question of whether a high resolution audio disc with three separate versions of the same material (in this case CD Stereo, SACD Stereo and SACD Surround Sound) requires the payment of one «mechanical usage fee» or several to the music publisher of the material on the album.

The question helps to demonstrate why some material has been slow to make it to the new high resolution audio formats such as SACD and DVD-A. With both of the new formats, one might have anywhere from one to five different versions of the music on an album for compatibility and marketing purposes.

Some Good News
While speaking with the folks at Sony Music, High Fidelity Review learned that work is continuing on the planned Surround Sound SACD by John Mayer entitled Heavier Things. If all continues to proceed on schedule, this will be the next Surround Sound SACD release by Sony Music.

High Fidelity Review readers will recall that the 5.1 Surround Sound Mix from Heavier Things was nominated for a Surround 2003 Award. This helps to explain Sony Music’s interest in issuing the Surround Sound SACD of the album. We’ll keep an eye out for more information on the Mayer SACD in the weeks ahead.
Dangerously In Love by Beyonce Knowles — Slated for Release in Europe on Surround Sound SACD in May