In a move sure to startle a few record retailers, English recording artists Massive Attack will make their much-anticipated new album, Mezzanine, available in its entirety on the Internet weeks before the May 12 in-store release date. The album will appear in stages over the course of two weeks via a special page on Virgin Records America's web site.
You may have noticed recent news items about proposals to deregulate the electrical power industry. You may have received solicitations to sign on with some start-up utility you never heard of, promising 10% to 40% reductions in your electrical bill. The model for this deregulation---if it comes to pass---is the long-distance telephone industry.
On March 12, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. announced that Sony Corporation has expanded its royalty-bearing license under ECD's proprietary phase-change rewritable optical-memory technology to include advanced technology for use in rewritable CD and DVD optical-memory products. Phase-change technology, invented by ECD, is used in PD and CD-RW rewritable optical-memory discs.
Remember how your Uncle Charlie used to hole up in the basement with his ham radio rig? He'd spend hours down there, tweaking his equipment and chatting in an arcane jargon with fellow hobbyists around the world.
March 9, AKM Semiconductor, Inc. introduced the AK5392, a 24-bit stereo analog-to-digital (A/D) converter based on its proprietary dual-bit delta-sigma technology. The AK5392 reportedly achieves a dynamic range of 116dB, said to be a 15dB improvement over other single-chip alternatives.
In an announcement that could stun the neophyte custom CD compilation business and concurrently impact future prospects for the $12 billion music recording industry, superSonic BOOM has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Ergon Technology for a patented manufacturing process covering customized audio products. Like Open Market's announcement last week that it had received patents from the US government for its e-commerce technology, superSonic's announcement raises more questions than it answers.
Coming soon on the Madrigal Audio Laboratories website is La Folia, a music webzine. Edited by Mike Silverton, La Folia sets out to supplement the audiophile press by directing its emphasis at recordings elsewhere neglected: present-day art music (aka "classical"), free and improvisational jazz, category-defying hybrids, and whatever else strikes their "clutch of sweet-spot stuckees as rare and well done."
Several companies spanning the personal computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries announced March 4th the formation of a working group that will develop a specification for wireless communications in the home. This specification will allow PCs, peripherals, cordless telephones, and consumer electronic devices to communicate and interoperate with one another.
In cooperation with the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the Recording Industry Association of America filed a report in February with the United States Trade Representative outlining the problems that US record companies face conducting business in foreign marketplaces. The report highlights inadequacies in copyright protection with respect to standards and enforcement, and identifies major impediments to market access.
Members of San Francisco's legendary Grateful Dead have announced plans to reunite for a six-week, 25-city tour beginning in June. The group---whose core consists of original Dead members Phil Lesh (bass), Bob Weir (guitar), and Mickey Hart (drums)---will call itself The Other Ones, after an old Dead tune. The group will headline the third annual "Furthur" tour.
On February 23, Pacific Microsonics announced that Atlantic Records' forthcoming golden-anniversary release will feature classic popular recordings remastered using Pacific's high-resolution HDCD technology. The patented High Definition Compatible Disc process enhances the detail, richness, and dynamics of compact disc performance.
The Crystal Semiconductor Products Division of Cirrus Logic Inc. announced last week the availability of the industry's first digital audio transmitters and receivers designed to support the emerging 96kHz digital audio sampling rate. The new mixed-signal receivers and transmitters are targeted at both the professional audio and consumer DVD audio markets.
While the DVD Consortium's Working Group 4 (WG-4) is still working on the 0.9 specification for DVD-Audio, Sony and Philips have been silently carrying on work on their Super Audio CD, the consumer implementation of Sony's DSD. The Sony/Philips disc will have two layers, one carrying normal 44.1kHz, 16-bit CD information (and thus guaranteeing backwards compatibility with existing CD players), the other carrying eight channels in DSD format (two for high-quality stereo, six for surround), plus text and/or graphics.