[from Multimedia Daily, 24 July 1995:]
Reprinted with Permission
TODD RUNDGREN DEMOS NEW CD+ RELEASE
During a concert Thursday night at Irving Plaza in New York, musician
Todd Rundgren demonstrated the multimedia capabilities of his new
disk, "The Individualist," which he plans to release in September in
the just-approved CD+ format.
His performance was one of hundreds of live concerts scheduled into
15 Manhattan clubs during the week of July 17-22 as part of the Macintosh
New York Music Festival. Other CD-ROM and online performances this
week have featured Laurie Anderson, The Residents, and the Emergency
The CD+ format is a recently approved format that will be used for the
simultaneous playback of audioand video on the same five-inch disk. It
was approved several weeks ago by the Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA), but other factors have slowed its progress to the market.
The advantage of the CD+ format is that disks can be played in either
an existing Compact Disk machine or in a CD-ROM drive, Rundgren said.
"You can take this disk, slip it in your regular old CD player, and
it will sound and act just like a regular CD. So if you don't have a
computer, no problem, don't worry about the computer crap. Just play
the record," he told the audience at Irving Plaza.
Those who have a CD-ROM drive on their Macintosh or Windows PC,
however, can enjoy additional visual entertainment loaded onto "The
Individualist" disk. Rundgren said the computer data is hidden in
the otherwise unused portions of the disk.
Rundgren used a projection TV and movie screen to display the monitor
of a Macintosh that he was running on stage right. His first demo
was of a lyrics section on the disk, where fans can use their mouse
to highlight a particular line from a song, and then listen to that
line being sung as they follow along with the lyrics onscreen. They
can jump ahead, let it play through, go back, or change songs as they
Next came a demo of the visual entertainment that's programmed to
accompany each of the ten songs on the disk. Rundgren took the
audience through short demos of the tracks "If Not Now, When?",
"Family Values", and "Tables Will Turn", explaining that he would
perform them later in their entirety during the concert that was to
immediately follow. One track was accompanied by twirling shapes;
another contained a black and white cartoon of hammers, faces, and
fingers dialing phones. The third track featured color animations.
Rundgren himself didn't appear onscreen until the video editing
section of the disk. "We did a multi-camera shoot of a live
performance in London last year of a "No World Order" interactive
show," and included the performance of "Fascist Christ" on this disk,
Rundgren explained. Fans can use their computer to act like the director of a
music video, choosing when to switch among three different camera angles of
the performance. "You can call your own shoot of the show," Rundgren
said, and edit your own video..
The CD+ release is tentatively scheduled for the first week of
September, delayed by the slow appearance of the drivers needed to
play the disk on a Mac or Windows machine. Rundgren said he expects
"The Individualist" to carry the same list price as a music CD --
typically $16 -- though it will be sold by both music shops and
While fans wait for the CD+ release, Rundgren has decided to ship a
music-only cassette version of "The Individualist" worldwide, as well
as a music-only CD format release in Japan. After the CD+ drivers
become available, he said he plans to remix and release some of his
earlier works in a multimedia format.
In addition, all ten tracks are available for downloading from the
CompuServe Information Service (by typing Go Individualist).
Rundgren is sponsoring 30-day free trials of the service for his
fans. However, the tracks range in size from 2.3 MB to 5 MB -- and
all ten add up to a whopping 35 Megabytes -- so users may need to set
aside a whole month to download all the music via dial-up modem.
(ION Records 1-310-452-8448; Compuserve 1-800-550-5335)