Weekly AUDIO NEWS for July 18, 2001

Napster in 3rd Week Offline - Napster has been ordered by a federal judge to remain shut down until it proves it has a zero tolerance setup that will block 100% of unauthorized music files. The shutdown was part of a series of legal setbacks for Napster that began with the major record labels' suits to prevent them from freely distributing copyright music on the Net. A spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America said that although Napster claimed their new system was 99% effective, they still let through half of the songs that the record companies claimed were illegally traded. An industry analyst said Napster now appears "dead in the water."

The Next Napster? - Plenty of activity in the online music trading/distribution area now, with many recent and brand new competitors vying to attract the nearly three billion MP3 songs that Napster had users trading at its height. Among them are BearShare, Morpheus, Gnucleaus, LimeWire, PressPlay and MusicNet. Some are paid subscription services and some even have the blessings of the record industry. One problem is that most of these Napster-style programs lack the ease and efficiency of the original. Consultants Booz-Allen suggest in a report that a good solution would be to copy the "windowing" practice of the movie industry - allowing one movie to make money at different times in different forms. i.e: a new album could start with play on radio and MTV before official release; then the CD would be sold in stores for $14. Then in two months the album would be offered online for $1 a track or $14 for the whole CD. Six months later, the CD would be made available to an online membership service charging $10 to $20 per month. Finally, a year after the original release the CD would be sold at a big discount - such as $5 - thru mail order clubs and TV offers.

Stereophile Sold Again - Stereophile Magazine and The Stereophile Guide to Home Theater were part of the 50+ different magazine titles just sold to Primedia Inc. by EMAP USA for $515 million, according to the LA TIMES. About three years ago EMAP had purchased a similar package from Peterson Publishing, but consisting of about 100 publications, for $1.5 Billion! What became of the other 50 magazines is unclear.

- John Sunier

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