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Pure Audio Blu-ray format backers set up official promotion group

Backers of the Pure Audio Blu-ray format convened in Berlin on 5 July to establish the Pure Audio Group, a non-profit cross-industry body whose objective is to coordinate the marketing efforts behind the worldwide promotion of the high-definition audio disc. The setting up of such association was initially discussed at this year's international music market MIDEM.

Attending were representatives from 22 international companies - music producers, recording studios, content owners, replicators, authoring and mastering facilities. This participation brings to 42 the total number who signed up as founding members of the Pure Audio Group. Another 51 companies are said to have expressed interest in working with the group.

A network of 21 authoring facilities in nine countries are already able to produce Pure Audio titles. Replicators who support the format include Sony DADC, EDC, MPO and arvato.

Support for the format came also from representatives of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) - the German Association of the Music Labels - as well as the Verbandes unabhängiger Musikunternehmen (VUT) - the Association of Independent Music Publishers.

Pure Audio Blu-ray's screen-less navigation was pioneered by Munich-based msm-Studios back in 2008. It became a recommendation published by the Audio Engineering Society in 2011 as AES 21id specifications 'Screen-less navigation for high-resolution audio on Blu-ray disc.' The standard also conforms to all Blu-ray Disc specifications.

Key participants (pictured) agreed to support a set of functionalities - "similar to CD technology that are simple to use and which customers are familiar with" - intrinsic to the Pure Audio Blu-ray format. They include:

- Screen-less navigation via simple operation using the Blu-ray player remote control (a TV set is not mandatory);
- Track selection by using the numeric keys on the Blu-ray player remote control;
- Multiple audio streams optional;
- Selection of the audio stream by using the colour buttons on the Blu-ray player remote control;
- Selective operation via the screen menu, with a preview of track list included.

Stefan Bock, founder & MD of msm-Studios and Pure Audio pioneer, outlined a series of planned developments:

- UltraViolet as an alternative to the mShuttle service, enabling cloud-based access to the same music content, so users can listen and download the music wherever and whenever they choose.
- BD live as interactive feature for Blu-ray players (in cooperation with Imagion), providing additional content (e.g. musicians, 'making-of', downloads of documentations via internet).
- Second-screen applications utilising a smartphone to operate the disc, to add extra content accessible on a secondary device (liner notes, credits, etc.)

"Our event has clearly shown the importance of a unified consumer experience for the success of the format," commented Christoph Diekmann, Executive Director of the Pure Audio Group and MD of AREA Entertainment. "As the Pure Audio Group, we will give artists and labels the opportunity to release their studio recordings on a 'lossless' physical medium, through our mutual activities with an unambiguous brand name."

The Berlin meeting took place one month after the gathering organised by the backers of Universal Music-inspired High Fidelity Pure Audio format. The High Fidelity Pure Audio Group set up in London promotes a concept that departs on some technical aspects from those designed by the Pure Audio Group. DVD and Beyond understands that early promising harmonization discussions fell through.

Story filed 16.07.13

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