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Verve Music Group Takes Digital Sound Quality to the Next Level

World’s Leading Jazz Label Makes Recordings Available in Remarkable 96/24 Sound Via HDtracks

Verve Music Group, the world’s leading jazz label and a division of Universal Music Group, today announced a new agreement with HDtracks whereby it will provide consumers with access to many of the world’s chart-topping and seminal jazz recordings in better-than-ever pristine 96/24 quality sound.

“With HDtracks, Verve continues to bring consumers more choice in how they enjoy music online,” stated Nate Herr, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Verve Music Group. “Along with the digital revolution, sound quality online has suffered. And for jazz fans in particular, this has been an issue. At least until now. Through HDtracks, jazz lovers will now be able to download DVD quality sound, as well as get full artist biographies, album descriptions and reviews, all of which creates an even richer musical experience.”

Transfer of Verve 96K masters were done using a combination of the best new and vintage equipment available. The carefully chosen original analog masters were played back on vintage Studer 820 tape machines. These machines provide the most stable transport for handling these priceless analog tapes. The analog masters were converted to the digital domain using classic DCS 972 and Lavry analog to digital converters and recorded directly onto a SoundBlade Workstation with minimal processing in order to allow the music to be formatted for digital distribution. The shortest signal path and highest quality cabling were used to prevent any signal loss and additional noise from being introduced into the transfer. The entire digital process was driven with the Antelope Audio Atomic Clock, the industry leader in digital clocking technology. It enables the entire digital process to reference the same highly regulated clock master, preventing any loss in the digital signal due to jitter and clock degradation.

[Press Release]

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22/04/2010 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Free, Free, Free Music for Aussies via GUVERA

Guvera, the new music service that sounds like a fruit,  is oh-so-mysterious and is marketing itself almost guerilla-style. The design reminds me of either a shoe brand, or Che. With the words “Welcome To The Revolution… Digital Entertainment is About to be Changed Forever” printed on the website so huge you cannot miss it, it has announced itself on the web with a decided bang, and it does look pretty good, actually. If you’re not already frightened off by the strong association with socialism of course.

“We found a way to make it free… while everyone still gets paid,” jumped the words on the site, a la old movie film style. What they mean is that it will be an ad-based site, while promising to offer music suggestions based on intense user personality profiling. In business terms, this means that users will be directed to related brands closely associated with their personalities, something that Facebook has been attempting to succeed at for awhile now. I can attest to the intensity of the profiling. Just signing up to be a pre-user for their beta service required me to fill in at least 20 questions about my favourite music, sport, and even charity (education? animals? etc.). If it doesn’t annoy you, it would certainly intrigue you.

The Australian-based Guvera has clinched itself an exclusive deal with Universal Music Group to start off their service with, promising at least 30% of the world’s music catalogue on their site.

They’re not here to be messed around with, it seems. “Preparing an assault on the world of music,” tweets Guvera (@Guvera), promising with its strong language completely free music for Guvera users and amazing returns for the advertisers. Universal Music seems ready to take a leap of faith and embrace Guvera’s business model, something that’s different from their usual telco tie-ups.

“Universal Music is committed to cultivating legitimate online entertainment by offering our consumers even more ways to enjoy the musical experience where they want, how they want and in the manner of their choosing,” commits David Ring, EVP of Business Development & Business Affairs for UMG. How does the label make money then? The model will require advertisers to pay a fee to the label whenever music is downloaded, ensuring that the label has a vested interest in the number of potential users who will download music on Guvera. I wonder how advertisers feel about this.

At the time of writing this post, Guvera’s press releases on their website aren’t showing. Guvera launches in Australia on 15Dec’09, and will launch on New Year in the United States.
I don’t know about you but just the logo alone excites me and gives me the shivers.

26/11/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Are the Labels Ready to Face the Digital Frontier?

VEVO_logoUniversal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have both put a foot in on the boat that is VEVO. And now VEVO looks set to sail into the bright horizon as investor Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) pumps in a strategic investment, declaring itself a shareholder and a big part of this venture.

VEVO is branded as upcoming state-of-the-art music video and entertainment service powered by YouTube, with music content exclusively provided by UMG and SME, whose artists include Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, and Lady Gaga for the former, and Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and the late Michael Jackson for the latter. VEVO is the next natural step in the long-term rollout of digital plans, according to the shareholders. “It illustrates our partnering approach with innovators in digital media services and technologies,” says H.E. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazroui, Chairman of ADMC.

Rio Caraeff, CEO of VEVO, seems to have big plans up his sleeves. Having dealt with digital c ontent for 4 years in Universal Music Group and another 3 years in Sony Pictures Entertainment before that, Caraeff seems determined to steer the entire industry in the digital direction.

However, reticence to embark on digital projects is something the labels cannot seem to shake off. Red tape, protocols pertaining to physical products, inertia to recognize the obvious dawn of the digital age, are just some of the things that prevent labels from investing in the right research to find a digital music business model. Though Universal Music had led the way with their fondness for little digital projects all over the world (read: UMG-Webtv Europe’s deal in 2004, UMG and UK telco Orange’s mobile music deal in 2009, UMG and Singapore leading telco Singtel’s mobile music deal in 2009, UMG and Virgin Media’s ongoing deal, among others), impact made on consumer trends are arguable, and besides, none of the other labels seemed to have taken notice of what UMG has been doing. Or, rather, they probably could not care less.

Sony Music has apparently, however, woken up from the deep slumber caused by the messy and very recent separation from Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), and has expressed interest in foraying into the digital music market. Just a few days ago, it was announced that Sony’s electronic arm has involved itself in a project called “Club Dates”, which is in fact a series of digital concerts planned to encourage music lovers to embrace what Sony calls “alternative content”. Concerts filmed ‘live’ will be shown on the various Sony platforms, including its 4K digital cinema projectors. The first act called upon to headline the series is none other than the band Third Eye Blind, whose latest album “Ursa Major” received the major honor of #1 Digital Album on the Billboard charts. Aside from “Club Dates” and the gentle stakeholding duties that are called upon by VEVO, Sony Music has yet to prove its interest in the global digital market.

As I type, Virgin Media and UMG have yet to reach a conclusion on what “unlimited DRM-free” downloads should mean. It seems simple – downloads that are untethered and are available readily without clauses in your contracts. Yet it isn’t really all that easy to implement. The question now remains: how can the labels protect their content and yet embrace a digital world completely?

21/10/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment