Universal Music International, the European arm of the Universal Music Group, has announced that the limited edition Surround Sound SACD of Sting’s new album “Sacred Love” has hit the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s European Top 100 Album Chart which will be published on Monday. Sacred Love features Kipper, the album’s co-producer and keyboard player as well as guest musical appearances by singer Mary J. Blige and Anoushka Shankar.
The European version of Sacred Love was released on September 22nd as a Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD disc. The SACD features Surround Sound SACD, Stereo SACD and Stereo CD versions of the music on the album and is playable “on any home, car, or portable CD player”.
Third Time An SACD Hits No. 1 on the Charts
This is the third time this year that a single inventory, Hybrid Layer SACD disc has hit the top of the sales charts. The previous No. 1 sales champs on SACD were the 30th Anniversary Edition of the album “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd (Capitol Records 7243-582136-2) which debuted at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Top Catalog Album Sales Chart in March and more recently the new “Sympathy for the Devil Remix” Surround Sound SACD Maxi-Single (ABKCO 9666-2) which debuted at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Top Singles Sales Chart last week.
Most Successful Surround Sound Album
According to Universal Music International, sales of the Sacred Love Limited Edition SACD disc have been strong with over 600,000 copies shipped to date in the European market alone. Universal claims that the sales to date make it “the most successful Multi-channel, Surround Sound album in history” topping earlier best selling, single inventory Hybrid Surround Sound SACD discs in Europe that include Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and Dana Winner’s “Unforgettable Too” (both on EMI’s Capitol Records Europe label) as well as “The Official Music Performed During the Royal Wedding of Willem-Alexander & Maxima” on the PentaTone Classics label.
Sales of the new Sacred Love album by Sting benefitted both from the album being Sting’s first new album in several years as well as a joint marketing campaign unveiled at the IFA 2003 show earlier this year in Europe. The campaign, co-sponsored by Philips, Sony & Universal Music International features radio and print ads as well as a web site in Europe starring Sting and other Universal Music International artists who urge consumers to “Send Your Sound Into the Future” by buying Hybrid SACD discs such as the Sacred Love Limited Edition Surround SACD (see our story on the IFA 2003 show linked below).
More SACD Releases Planned by Universal Music International
Universal Music International also talked about its interest in the SACD format and plans to release more SACD discs in the European market in the months ahead. Universal said:
“Super Audio CD provides amazing richness of sound and unprecedented levels of quality by utilising a new recording technique – Direct Stream Digital (DSD) – that has a far higher frequency range than CD. Multi-channel, 5.1 surround sound on a Super Audio CD delivers an entirely new listening experience where the music surrounds and envelops the listener like never before. With vocals and instruments afforded more space and clarity, surround sound recordings present music as the artist intended it – from broad soundscapes to subtle nuance, every detail can be heard.
In addition to Sting’s Sacred Love, Universal Music International is set to release more than fifty key titles on Super Audio CD during autumn and winter 2003, including major albums by Shania Twain, Ronan Keating, Texas, Marvin Gaye, The Who and Elton John.
More than one hundred albums are already available from Universal Music – the world’s largest music company – including twenty-two titles in the Rolling Stones Remastered series (distributed in Europe and Japan by Universal Music International), Beck’s Sea Change, Bon Jovi’s Bounce, Diana Krall’s The Look Of Love and seven albums from the Police including Every Breath You Take, Regatta De Blanc and Synchronicity.”