The sales picture has improved for Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, but not the bottom line. The Canton, MA–based retailer reported a 4% increase in sales for the second quarter ended March 31, with comparable store results up 3%. The increase lifted Tweeter's total revenue to $189.3 million, but the company reported an operating loss of $4.6 million, almost twice the $2.5 million loss posted in the same period the previous year.
In one of his old comedy routines, Steve Martin imagines himself hauled into court for bank robbery. He seeks dismissal of the charges on the grounds of forgetfulness. "Your Honor," he pleads, "I forgot that bank robbery was a crime."
Nowhere is the inflationary cycle spinning faster than in concert ticket prices. The best tickets for performances by major pop and rock stars this summer will be priced in the low-to-mid hundreds. No, that's not a misprint, and it doesn't include "service charges" and other bogus fees tacked on by ticket agencies. Good seats for Eric Clapton's summer tour will be more than $250 each; similar seating at Simon and Garfunkel's "Old Friends" show at the Hollywood Bowl will go for $700, according to "Parsley, Sage and $350 Seats," a revealing look at skyrocketing ticket prices by Ethan Smith in the May 7 issue of The Wall Street Journal.
It's safe to say that few audio engineers are more famous than Ray Dolby. On May 1, the founder and chairman of Dolby Laboratories was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, joining such luminaries as Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb and the phonograph.
Have you ever been to a rock concert and come away mumbling, "Those engineers must be deaf"? After enduring three hours of an all-out sonic assault, you were probably just a tad cranky, but the facts are that those engineers probably were deaf, or well on their way.
"Clean Slate" ends: As of early April, the US music industry no longer offers amnesty to confessed downloaders. Begun in September by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the "Clean Slate" program's intent was to discourage music fans from continuing to gather freebies online by promising exemption from copyright infringement lawsuits if they signed statements that they had removed shared music files from their computers. More than 1100 music fans signed, but Eric Parke of Novato, CA sought an injunction against the program on the grounds that it was a "fraudulent business practice." The RIAA responded by halting the amnesty effort and asked the judge in the case to dismiss Parke's lawsuit. Trade group officials promised to uphold their part of the bargain for those who signed.
If you're a retailer harboring visions of including Klipsch Audio Technologies' products among the offerings in a deep-discount website, forget it. Likewise, reconsider if you've been tempted to buy Klipsch products at unbelievable prices from such a site. And if you're a Klipsch dealer with some overstock, don't take the bait if someone with a website offers you cash for a bulk deal, don't even think about it—because Klipsch is one company that takes the gray market seriously.
Once upon a time, business competitors relied on the quality of their products and services to hang onto their shares of the market. That's the myth, at least. Increasingly, it seems they rely on regulatory and judicial intervention to stay afloat.