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Friday, February 25, 2005
Sony BMG Boosts Copy-Protected CDs

Sony BMG Music Entertainment is stepping up the rollout of what it calls "content-enhanced" copy-protected CDs, according to company executives.

The move began with the Chieftains' album "Live From Dublin," released Tuesday (Feb. 22). Upcoming albums that will receive the treatment are from Kasabian (March 8) and Susie Suh (March 29).

Sony BMG expects that by year's end, a substantial number of its U.S. releases will employ either Sunncomm's newly enhanced MediaMax or First4Internet's XCP to address piracy concerns. No matter which technology a CD uses, it will include extras such as photo galleries, enhanced liner notes and links to other features.

"What matters the most to us is the consumer experience," Sony BMG Sales Enterprise co-president Jordan Katz says. "Both technologies offer playability across all standard players, including CD players, boomboxes, DVD players, PCs, Macs, car stereos, videogames and clock radios."

Katz says the company wants to alert the industry that it is implementing the content-protection technology, because extensive consumer research indicates widespread customer acceptance of it.

BMG has used MediaMax on a number of titles, including Velvet Revolver's "Contraband" and Anthony Hamilton's "Comin' From Where I'm From." In all, it has shipped more than 5.5 million content-enhanced and protected discs, which have met with extremely positive consumer reactions, according to Katz.

The albums coming out now and in the immediate future will allow for three copies to be made. "We haven't set on what the number of copies should be, other than there should be a limited number; it shouldn't be infinite," Katz says. "Our research shows that the consumer thinks that's fair."

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