RADIO STATIONS COMPETE with one another to be the first to play hot new music releases, and the winner is usually the one with the best mail delivery. Now, Digital Generation Systems Inc. sends record releases electronically, so that stations receive them at the same time and no longer have to worry about disks getting lost in transit or disappearing in the mail room. Using this setup, a studio such as Capitol Records Inc. digitizes a song and sends it via phone into DG in San Francisco. DG then sends the release to as many as 238 stations at once, also via phone lines. Some 3,500 stations in the U.S. and Canada have DG receivers. Stations can store the music on the receiver or transfer it to tape.
Digital transmission costs about the same as sending a disk by Federal Express, and DG claims the sound is better. Since September, when MCA Records Inc. released Reba McEntire's single On My Own, DG has sent out works of five artists. A three-minute song takes nine minutes to send, so initially, only the headline recordings will be released digitally. Next up on the DG network: two newly discovered Beatles recordings from Capitol, coming Nov. 20.