UK distributor Optimum Releasing, which was recentlyacquired by France's StudioCanal, has launched a new division devoted tocompilation albums, audiobooks and soundtracks.

Optimum Sounds will issue its first release, tripleCD Extended Seventies - The Dawning of the the 12" Era, in May. Feel The Spirit - Other Worldly FolkSongs & Psychedelics will follow in July.

The division is also planning an alterntive countryalbum, a psychedelic rock album and a children's music series.

The first audio books will include three titles bychildren's author E.B. White, including his classic Charlotte's Web.

Simon Marks has joined the company as managingdirector of Optimum Sounds. He had been working at Universal Music and is aco-founder of label Family Recordings.

"We're delighted Simon is on board; he is the perfectperson to develop Optimum's expansion into the music industry," saidOptimum's managing director Will Clarke. "It is natural for us to exploitour Home Entertainment distribution network in this way and we are very excitedabout the opportunities that Optimum Sounds presents."