RCA Opens Digital Vault to iTunes

RCA has begun a project that will soon allow the company to add thousands of tracks to online services in a genre that has been generally underserved since the days of disco: dance music.

First launched in March through online store iTunes, the initial release included remixes of Kelly Clarkson's hit "Walk Away," as well as other current dance tracks. Also included are promo-only tracks, such as a 12-minute extended mix of Eurythmics' "Right By Your Side," and Odyssey's 1977 hit "Native New Yorker," which has been re-released for the first time.

The company in April released songs from more artists including Jermaine Stewart, Expose, Taylor Dayne, and Lisa Stansfield. In May and June, tracks from Deborah Cox and Whitney Houston will make an appearance.

Since disco's fall from the mainstream in the early 80s, except for a brief rebirth in the early and mid-90s dance music has become an underground movement. Many dance releases used to be hard to find, and only available through specialty stores, such as Philadelphia's 611 Records.

However, with the advent of digital music, genres like dance are able to promote their music. Bigger companies such as RCA and others who may have signed dance acts can upload their music at a much cheaper cost that pressing vinyl or CDs.

According to RCA, the cost of digitizing each track will run around $800, and initially the company is not expecting to make money off the venture. However RCA vice president Hosh Gureli said that if it does, it could push other record companies to do the same.

The result could be a dramatic increase in the number of tracks available digitally through iTunes and the other leading music services. Dance music makes sense to be the first wave, as it was one of the first genres to go electronic.

The company plans to continue releasing both long-lost dance classics from RCA, Arista, and J Records, as well as current and never-before-released content. iTunes will receive exclusivity for thirty days, after which the music would be released on other services.

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