Willie Nelson Speeds Up to Internet Time

We've all heard about "Internet time"---that fraction of the "normal" time interval for a similar activity to occur on the Internet. As if to put an exclamation point on the concept of Internet time, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) plans to make audio history March 10 at the 1999 NARM Convention coming up in Las Vegas.

A demonstration at the seminar "Digital Delivery, Show Us the Money" will feature legendary singer-songwriter Willie Nelson performing a song live, which will then be mixed, encoded, and published for sale on the Internet via a network of retailers---all before the end of the session. "In fact, we'll even choose a site, purchase the song, download it, and play it back for the audience," says NARM President Pamela Horovitz. "For those who still think digital delivery is futuristic mumbo-jumbo, this will be the time for a reality check."

The seminar panel will include music retailers, artists, managers, label sales-marketing staff, and technology executives who will also be discussing MP3 and copyright issues, online selling, and emerging music-distribution channels such as kiosk delivery systems. "Even though Internet sales are a very small portion of the business today, they represent an area of tremendous change," claims Horowitz. "We are offering this seminar so that all of our members, even those who are not yet operating websites of their own, will be able to stay on top of what's happening in this area."

Turning her attention to the impending release of DVD-Audio, Horowitz notes that "Of course, everybody's waiting for audio DVD. I think this new configuration would benefit greatly from an industry marketing campaign such as the DVD Group's. Consumers don't buy configurations. They buy combinations of quality, portability, durability, and price. It's going to be critical to articulate benefits of DVD-Audio for the consumer."

Other topics of concern to Horowitz are packaging standards for the new formats. "My comment on behalf of the retail community is that we aren't going to be able to discuss just size alone this time. The 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" package currently being used by the industry for DVD [video] does a good job of distinguishing DVD from both CDs and VHS. But now we have to distinguish this new audio configuration from all of those."