The big four record labels have decided that the way to sell more is to launch a new format – and here it comes, DualDisc. EMI, Song BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music have been quietly scheming away to produce the new format, which, as its name suggests, is a CD – DVD hybrid.
Playable on just about any drive that can play either CDs or DVDs, the DVD partition of the disk can contain extras like videos, interviews and photo galleries. How does it work? It’s really not that sophisticated – it’s just a double-sided disc with a CD substrate on one side and a DVD substrate on the other. As the format has been approved by the DVD forum, it will be allowed to carry the DVD logo.
DVD-Audio and SACD have not been very successful, and this is an attempt to recapture a lost market.
CDs are about 1.2mm thick – the new format can be about 1.5mm thick, which may cause it to jam in some players, though it is still within the upper limit for the CD standard.
The key advantage for audiophiles is that music quality is preserved. Extras on CDs tend to eat into the amount of space available for storing music, so bit rates can suffer on longer discs. Better still, listeners can enjoy DVD-A quality encoding on the DVD side at home whilst using the CD side in their cars and personal stereos. Perhaps it’s not so evil after all.
The first titles will include albums from Five for Fighting, Audioslave and Dave Brubeck. Sorry, who are these things aimed at again?
“We are delighted to be offering the first in a series of DualDisc titles,” stated Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. “By combining music, video, interactivity and portability in a single disc, DualDisc will add an exciting new dimension to the consumer’s musical experience.”
“Dual Disc opens a new, exciting creative dimension for artists to express themselves and connect with fans. It’s an entertainment-packed product and is a big step in our effort to give fans music whenever, however and wherever they want it,” said David Munns, Chairman and CEO EMI Music North America.
DVD Plus International, a German company, is claiming ownership of a patent relating to a dual-format DVD, called, predictably, DVD Plus. Since Dualdisc is set for an October launch, they had better sort that one out pretty sharpish.