“I think that the whole music industry will probably go completely to compact disc.”
-- Dave Grusin, 1985
Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen had always been disappointed with the sound on the LPs they released, as the latter puts it, “because we were hearing something else in the studio” due to high-quality recording procedures like digital. In addition, they were convinced that the compact disc would be the format of the future, and believed their commitment to the highest quality would be significantly demonstrated by releasing albums on CD as early as possible.
This prospect was an extremely innovative concept with the format still in its embryonic state, and it can be attributed to Dave Grusin's and Larry Rosen's forward thinking and striving for technical excellence, that each and every recording of the new company was released on CD.
As a marketing tool and statement of the GRP ethos, they wanted to release a record which would display their commitment to the highest quality sound and latest technological advances, one which would also sing the praises of the compact disc.
Their selection was a fascinating one, well a field of the kind of production they'd been associated with previously (and for some time to come). Larry Rosen explains the choice, saying they decided on “music that would be known all over the world and would be dynamically strong for compact disc. And that's when we decided on doing Glenn Miller big band music.”
Released in May 1984, “In The Digital Mood” signaled to all the kind of excellence the new GRP would represent, a stunning re-creation by the Glenn Miller Orchestra of all the master's fabulous hits of the 40s - the original arrangements - recorded with the latest technology, and showing just how effective the compact disc could be. It quickly became the third best-selling CD in the American charts.
Being small and independent gave them a special advantage in this area. The major labels were just too big - almost the analogy of the clumsy giant - to get up and running with CDs in this way. Furthermore, as Larry Rosen points out, “a lot of people in the record industry certainly didn't take that as being a reality.” But for the two who had worked with digital technology as early as 1979, “it fit the musical style that we were doing, the high quality type production.”
By the time the majors got around to taking the format seriously, their thinking was that the investment in a CD release would be something only to be lavished on their biggest mainstream names. However, as the GRP bosses knew, the people most likely to have the equipment to play the new discs were not the average record buyers, but those who leaned towards classical or jazz. That GRP was appealing to such a small market made it a worthwhile investment which put them ahead of the crowd with such audiophiles.
The good fortune which seemed to link Dave Grusin so smoothly with each new career challenge, was with them in the leap of faith with compact discs. Rather than becoming a defunct format, they became the industry standard, replacing LPs, with GRP at the head of the pack.
In assessing the many strengths of GRP which led to their success, Dave Grusin believed that technological innovations like CDs represented “the single biggest factor for us as a record company-the technology jump in terms of digital recordings and compact discs.”
Go to: Early Growth of GRP