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Something Old in the Latest CD Innovation

November 27, 1987|TERRY ATKINSON

It looks like a baby CD, and in a way it is. The new 3-inch "compact disc single" has arrived.

Besides all the other reasons for loving regular, 5-inch CDs, some people just think they're awfully darn cute. Those people should go for the even tinier "SubCompact" discs in a big way.

While "Peaches in Regalia," the first CD single to be commercially available, comes in a new form, it also comes with an old name--Frank Zappa. The disc is being released by the innovative Massachusetts CD-only company Rykodisc, which has been releasing a Mothers-load of Zappa material on CD.

So once you pay the $4.98 retail price for this initial 3-incher, just how do you get the little thing to play on your drawer-type compact disc machine? With a special adapter is how. Developed by Shape Optimedia and marketed by Rykodisc, the adapter carries a retail price of a mere 98 cents. (Portable and spindle-type CD players will play the disc without the adapter.)

Besides the "Peaches" (from Zappa's 1970 "Hot Rats" album) the Rykodisc single features two other digitally remixed tracks from the frequently bizarre singer-writer-etc., "Lucille Has Messed My Mind" and "I'm Not Satisfied."

Rykodisc plans "several other" 3-inch releases for 1988.

CHECK IT OUT: Seeking unusual special-interest videocassettes at video stores and coming up empty? Or even movies? There's a place where you might find lots of them--and they might not even cost you a penny. It's your local library.

More and more libraries are carrying videotapes--and in a big way. The industry newsletter Video Marketing reports that those libraries that do offer tapes are spending an average of $8,200 each to acquire new product in 1987. Some big libraries have adopted big video budgets--8.6% of facilities surveyed are spending more than $20,000 this year on tapes. The American library video market is estimated at $22 million for the year.

Perhaps the most surprising figure in the report, however, is this: 48.3% of the tapes carried by U.S. public libraries are movies . Next highest category: children's videos comprise one-third of the total. Other categories most represented, in order: educational, how-to, documentaries, exercise, performing arts and music.

TEN MORE MINUTES: That's how much more blank audio tape (regular analog variety, since DAT's not quite ready yet) consumers can get with a new reel from Denon. Until now, standard audio tapes have generally been limited to 90 minutes total recording time--45 minutes on each side. Denon is now offering a 100-minute reel. That's 50 minutes per side (knew that high school math would come in handy some day).

Listing for $4.99, the new tapes are geared to the CD age. "The popular 90-minute audiocassettes are no longer sufficient for many new compact-disc recordings which exceed 45 minutes of music," states national sales manager Bill Muster. Denon (which also makes some of the most critically praised CD players) never marketed the sometimes-found 120-minute audiocassette "because it was too thin . . . and the sound quality was inadequate," Muster said. The new 100-minute reels are manufactured to meet the same technical-quality requirements as the company's 90-minute tapes, he said.

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