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Brooks Wants to Saddle Up New Software

Pop music: Country music's entertainer of the year hopes his live album in November will combine CD and DVD features in a new format.


Garth Brooks may have picked up the trophy for entertainer of the year (his fifth) at the 33rd Academy of Country Music Awards, but he clearly is thinking ahead to more challenges.

After Wednesday night's ceremony at the Universal Amphitheatre, the country superstar said backstage that he hopes to release a live album in November in a new software format that would combine audio and video and could be played both in existing compact disc and digital videodisc players.

Brooks said he is talking to software giants--including Microsoft and Intel--about new technology that would enable recording artists to release albums that would combine CD and DVD features in a single, two-layered hybrid disc.

"The big thing that we want here is a CD that plays in cars or trucks, so people won't have to buy a DVD player to hear it, but that could also be taken home and played in a DVD player [with video]," he said. "I think that's what we're coming to. . . .

"If that turns out to be what we want . . . all seven [of his albums] will be released in full DVD, 10-video-cut-per-album form, saying goodbye to CD and realizing that music alone for our consumer is not going to be what we're going to settle for."

Meanwhile, Brooks is still considering making his film debut in "The Lamb," a movie based on a Brooks concept and which he plans to co-produce with R&B impresario Babyface. The project would include a soundtrack of pop music performed by Brooks and produced by Babyface.

Brooks, who has sold more albums than anyone except the Beatles, also is releasing an unprecedented boxed set on May 5. The collection, titled "The Limited Series," will include all of Brooks' first six albums, along with six new tracks. Though six-disc sets typically retail for $60 to $100, he's priced it so that retailers can sell it for as little as $25.

He also plans to record an album of duets with Trisha Yearwood and hopes to record a second album of Christmas songs.

Other than Brooks, the big winners Wednesday were Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, whose duet "It's Your Love" won for best song, single record, video and vocal event of the year.

"It was magic for the two of us," Hill said of the song, which they introduced on the same show a year ago.

Nashville songwriter Stephony Smith, who penned the tune two years ago, was overjoyed that it had been so well received, but understood its universal appeal.

"It's about that first two or three months when you're with somebody you love and everything is overwhelming," she said. "You're in it. You're not anywhere else. You're not at work, you're not at home. You're just in love."

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