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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Feb. 27, 2002

Schwann Catalog and Major CD Distributor Declare Bankruptcy - Valley Entertainment, based in the Sacramento California area, has declared bankruptcy. They were one of the largest distributors of smaller independent CD labels and leave hundreds of labels and artists without distribution and in many cases no way to get their unsold stock returned to them. Valley also published the Schwann classical CD catalog, Spectrum jazz and pop catalog, and the monthly Schwann Inside magazine. This is a major loss for many artists, labels, shops and collectors.

Philips Opposes CD Copy Protection Measures - Philips Electronics, owning with Sony the patents on the standard Red Book CD, announced that they strongly disapprove of the new CD copy protection attempts by the recording industry. Until last year Philips owned PolyGram Records, but their 4-cent royalty on each CD - recorded or blank media - is the same whether the disc is being used legally or illegally. As reported here earlier, the new “copy-proof” CDs don’t play on many different CD players. Philips insists that buyers of the discs are getting something that may look like a CD but no longer meets the Red Book technical specs. Therefore they have barred the five major labels from further use of the trademarked Digital CD logo.

CD Copying Viewed Inevitable
- One line of thought on copying for personal use (as opposed to pirating and selling the CDs) runs as follows: Copying will always go on. It’s a problem, but not for the record industry. Their cost of business has come down but their prices remain high. (It’s even worse in Europe.) If you can play something back, you can copy it to another media. Even though it may not be digital-to-digital, the quality loss is not that major. The price gap between CD blanks and commercial recorded CDs is huge. This encourages people to listen to more free MP3 files and just buy the music they really love. Now with DVD burners a similar thing is occurring. DVDs are cheaper to produce than VHS tapes, and the regional code system - another sort of copy protection - causes frustrations for international video users.

Silverline to Release 140 DVD-Audios - Silverline Records, the first record label to produce and release DVD-A titles - and with 53 discs out thus far - has signed a licensing arrangement with the London-based media group Sanctuary Records. Beginning in April they will be releasing 140 albums of Sanctuary repertory - primarily rock - in six-channel formats DVD-A, DTS & Dolby 5.1.

Audiophile Want Their SACD - is the title of John Sunier’s first article for SURROUND PROFESSIONAL magazine, offering a consumer-level view of surround in the publication founded by Tomlinson Holman for studio pros. It is currently featured on their website here.

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