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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for May 23, 2001colored line

MP3.com Becomes Part of Vivendi Universal - The online music download company that together with Napster represented the leading edge of the movement to bypass control of the big commercial record labels has just joined the establishment. The San Diego-based firm is going to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French Entertainment giant Vivendi Universal and will be a key component of the new online music subscription service Duet - to be launched in cooperation with Sony this summer. When MP3.com was found liable for copyright violations recently, their biggest out-of-court settlement with record labels was a $53 million one with Universal - thus making the takeover easier. While MP3.com was largely selling the work of unknown performers, the deal with Universal brings access to artists with mass appeal. So unsigned artists will be the losers in the deal.

Brick & Mortar CD Retailers at Risk? - The digital music subscription services that are now being rolled out are seen by some analysts as a threat to traditional retailers. They worry if people will continue to be interested in driving out to the store, searching among a limited supply of CDs, and paying close to full retail - when online they can have unlimited access with many extras and at a reasonable monthly charge. It would even be possible for record labels to follow the lead of the increasingly popular "extras" on many DVDs to offer all sorts of additional, timely material on a particular artist, band or album that could never be included in a single CD in a jewel box.

Home Entertainment 2001 Show a Success - Formerly the Stereophile Hi Fi Show, the New York City event closed May 13 at the Hilton Hotel & Towers. It was the first show in New York in five years. Over 12,000 attended and there were more than 200 exhibitors. A dozen free live concerts pleased fans and provided the genuine article to compare to high end audio efforts. Sony demonstrated SACD and held a seminar that explored the behind-the-scenes work on producing the new Lawrence of Arabia DVD release. Runco showed 42-inch and 50-inch HDTV plasma screens, Dynaudio played their new $30,000 Evidence Temptation speaker system, and Reference Recordings celebrated their 25th Anniversary.

Monster Cable and Klipsch Tie the Knot - (using Monster Cables of course.) A partnership of the two major audio companies will result in most Klipsch speakers being wired internally with Z-Series Monster Cable, plus plans for working together on marketing, advertising, packaging and training programs.

- John Sunier

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