Returned products are problematic for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers. Returns have always eaten into profits in the audio and video business. Everybody knows that. What isn't widely known is that the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association sponsors an annual conference to help deal with the problem.
Media conglomerate Viacom, parent company of Blockbuster Music, has reportedly put the ailing chain on the auction block. Most likely buyer is Torrance, California-based music retailer Wherehouse Entertainment, Inc., which has 220 stores of its own, primarily on the West Coast. On Wednesday, May 13, Reuters news service reported that Wherehouse had tendered an offer of $200 million for Blockbuster. Wherehouse has been in intermittent discussions for several months with Viacom.
Author and television producer Howard J. Blumenthal has completed his Jazz and World Music CD Listener's Guides, the first two volumes in a four-volume series. The publications include brief biographies of the top artists in each genre, arranged alphabetically, and hundreds of short reviews of the discs the author considers essential.
The worldÆs first DVD-Audio single will soon be out from the rock group Full on the Mouth. "People Mover" is a track from the groupÆs forthcoming album, Collide. "We felt a 5.1 surround-sound mix would be a great medium to showcase the capabilities and technology of DVD and the electronic elements of Full on the Mouth,'' said Charlie Lico, chief executive officer of the bandÆs label, Pioneer Music Group, which is a subsidiary of Pioneer Electronic Corporation.
On Tuesday, May 5, beleaguered Carver announced that it had received a financial transfusion of almost $400,000 and that it would make a move into direct marketing in an attempt to bolster flagging sales. The Woodinville, Washingon-based company announced in a press release that it "had closed a sale of 3,000,000 shares of restricted Common Stock of the Company to one of its preferred shareholders, Renwick Special Situations Fund, L.P., for $375,000, or $0.125 per share."
The numbers are up for CDnow. The world's largest online music retailer reported April 30 that its first-quarter sales increased 288% over the same period in 1997. The company took in $10 million in revenue through the period ending March 31, an increase of 26.4% over the previous quarter, in which revenue totaled $7.9 million.
Remember when you weren't too busy to make your own cassette tapes to play in the car? How you could link one song to the next by genre or theme or beat or musical key? Remember how much more satisfying it was to listen to those tapes than it was to listen to the radio? No commercials, no announcers, no filler---and you liked every tune.
The next generation of streaming media technology was unveiled last week at RealNetworks' Conference '98 in Burlingame, California. The star of the show? "Bandwidth-friendly" RealPlayer G2, which promises to make noisy audio and glitchy video a part of the Web's past.
Questions for music lovers: 1) Have you been racking your brain trying to remember who recorded Ruby Vroom? 2) Do you know how many Tim Hardin recordings are available on CD? 3) Which album featured Head East's "Never Been Any Reason," considered by some connoisseurs the greatest rock song ever?