Industry Update

EMI drops: The EMI Group, the British music company, sent its stock prices plummeting 16% with its announcement last week that sales for the fiscal year ending next month would be as much as 9% below those of last year.

This time it isn't downloaders that are to blame. The company has been forced to delay the releases of new CDs by the bands Coldplay and Gorillaz until after the March 31 financial year's end. No reasons were given for the delays, although rumors have been circulating that Coldplay is breaking up. Re-orders and purchases of EMI's backcatalog—traditionally considered a strong indicator of a label's market share—were also down for the month of January.

Dorian delays bankruptcy: The Dorian Group, the Troy, NY–based classical music company, has extended its deadline for bids on the company's assets until midnight, February 25.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month in US Bankruptcy Court in Albany, NY, but it hopes to interest bidders in taking over Dorian Recordings and its associated label, Reference Recordings. Bids will be accepted for the joint or individual assets of the group. The new deadline was established because of court scheduling. Sealed bids will now be opened by February 28, with a bankruptcy court hearing held March 3.

Information or bids package requests: (518) 274-5475.

soundmatters, Inc. is shipping a novel, flat $329 subwoofer. Designed by Dr. Godehard Guenther, the SUBstage measures 8" H by 16.7" W by 3.75" D and employs what soundmatters calls "flat-magic&trade" technology, which uses a 6" spiderless, dual neodymium-magnet driver to pressurize two 6" x 6" "moving walls," effectively creating a single 14" piston, according to the press release.

Driven by an internal 100W class-D amplifier, the SUBstage extends down to 35Hz and can be daisy-chained. "The SUBstage gives consumers, as well as installers, a truly stealth option that can be placed nearly anywhere in a room, without having to rearrange furniture or camouflage the enclosure with a plant or a lamp," said Lee Adams, vice-president of sales and marketing.

No, you do the math: In a devastating article in The Washington Post, published on February 13, Rob Pegararo takes Napster To Go up on its offer to "do the math." His finding? The "all you can eat" subscription service comes off as more like "all you can pay." Even worse, Pegararo says, it's "the least compatible music store in existence. You can use it only on a Windows XP computer running Windows Media Player 10, and you can transfer your downloads only to a Windows Media–compatible player that includes special software and circuitry to enforce the pay-to-play deal."

Legal downloads like this are bound to convince those pesky "pirates" that the record labels are their pals, right?