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The CD is dead according to several music experts. The claim comes as several musicans move to a new distribution format called MVI.

Several acts are turning to the MVI (music video interactive) disc, a format poised to succeed the fading DVD-Audio and SACD. It plays in DVD players, computers and some game consoles but not CD players. With its increased storage capacity, superior sound and interactive capability, many see a potential to revitalise physical album sales.

The format’s first title, Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight, sold about 60,000 copies in MVI, or roughly 10% of its opening week total in May, rivaling the download slice of 13%. The Linkin Park CD retails for $18.98, the MVI $27.98.

“The CD is for someone who just wants the tunes,” says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard’s director of charts. “A real fan wants the pricier package. A computer unlocks the goodies: ringtones, wallpaper, MP3s. The idea is: Let’s put one version out for the masses and a completist edition for the die-hard.”

Rush’s Snakes & Arrows CD ($18.98) arrived in MVI format ($23.98) June 26. Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly Trilogy box set was released last month in MVI. On the way are Yung Joc’s Hustlenomics (Aug. 28) and James Blunt’s All the Lost Souls (Sept. 18). On Tuesday, The Flaming Lips deliver the live U.F.O.s at the Zoo with digital extras that include tools to remix a song and customize ringtones.

Tech firm ScribeStorm developed MVI for Warner Music Group, which is talking to other labels to encourage industrywide adoption. MVIs cost more than CDs but are cheaper than their true equivalent, the CD/DVD set.

“It’s an attempt to keep the physical game alive,” says Warner Bros. Records’ Eric Fritschi. Hopes ride on two key consumer advantages.

“First, there’s a lot more space on the disc,” he says. “Second, so many more people are experiencing music on their computers, and you can build a whole interactive element. It’s about a key that unlocks different content.”

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