Music Notes

New York's ailing Bottom Line music club has attracted some heavyweight help. Rock icon Bruce Springsteen and Viacom president Mel Karmazin have joined a campaign begun by New York–based satellite radio service Sirius Radio to save the legendary venue.

Both Springsteen and Karmazin have offered "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to save the club from closure by its landlord, New York University. The Greenwich Village club owes $185,000 in back rent. Some of its problems stem from a prolonged drop-off in business following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that leveled the World Trade Center. NYU is also demanding improvements to the building and an increase in rent before signing a new lease. NYU officials put the club's current rent at less than 50% of market value, placing an undue burden on the not-for-profit university, school officials told reporters.

Springsteen was one of many performers who launched their careers from the club in the early 1970s. He described the Bottom Line as "a central part of New York City culture." To learn more, visit the "Save The Bottom Line" website.

Downloadable music services are liberalizing their copy policies in the wake of the initial success of Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store. In mid-October, MusicMatch announced that it would soon allow subscribers to burn any downloaded song to a CD or transfer it to a portable device supporting Windows Media Audio (WMA), a digital-rights-management (DMR) format. A partner of America Online, MusicMatch recently re-negotiated its contracts with record labels to give subscribers more leeway in how they use downloaded music. The service currently offers approximately 200,000 songs from major labels and independents, priced at 99 cents each or $9.95 per album. Data rate is 160kps.

By mid-December, Roxio should have the revived Napster in operation, offering a pay-per-tune non-subscription service, where music fans can buy downloads for 99 cents each. Such downloads will be burnable to any number of CD-Rs and transferable to an unlimited number of portable players. The tunes will be blocked from email transfer, but will be playable on computers that have been registered with Napster. The service will also offer a subscription option at $9.95/month, with "more than 500,000 songs from the big-five music companies and from hundreds of independent labels." Samsung is the hardware partner with Napster. The company's YP910 portable player will feature a 20GB hard drive, MP3 encoder, and FM tuner, and will allow PC users to drag-and-drop selected tunes directly into the player. Price for the YP910 is projected at $399.