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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Tower's 'Mr. Mellow' Is Hopping Mad About Best Buy's Two-Week Exclusive on the New U2 Music Video

9 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Exclusives are a prickly topic. Independent video rentailers were enragedwhen Blockbuster got exclusives on several video titles in recent years, eventhough none of the titles was exactly a major hit.

The VSDA was even urged to come down against exclusives at the height of therhetoric-happy Jeff Eves era, but in recent years exclusives have become moreprevalent, albeit disguised, with Blockbuster and Hollywood picking upexclusive distribution rights to certain secondary titles before they are released to the masses.

However, I don't recall this happening on the sellthrough side...until now. I spoke with John Thrasher the other day and the man many of us in the industry have dubbed "Mr. Mellow" is hopping mad.

He claims Universal Music and Video Distribution has given Best Buy an exclusive two-week window on the new music video by rock band U2, U2 -Elevation Tour 2001 - Live from Boston. "It's coming out at Best Buy on Nov. 20 and to the rest of the world on Dec. 4," says Thrasher, v.p. of video purchasing for Tower Records and Video, a 100-store audio-video combo chain based in West Sacramento, Calif.

He doesn't like that one bit, but he's not just getting mad, he's going to get even. "I don't think we're going to buy it at all," Thrasher says. "If they want their music video business to go to Best Buy, that's Universal's call."

This is an interesting situation, but unfortunately, that's all I know. JimWeatherson, executive v.p. with Universal Music and Distribution, did notreturn phone calls.

By the way, the U2 DVD appears on the Amazon.com Web site as being availableDec. 4. Based on advance orders, the title is No. 64 on Amazon's top DVDsellers list.

It's also listed on Best Buy's Web site as being available Dec. 4. But aclerk at the chain's Costa Mesa, Calif., store, contacted last night, saidaccording to his computer, his stores will have copies Nov. 20. "We don't have an advertised price for it yet," he says, "but usually, the first week, it will be on sale."

Readers or Jim Weatherson, any comments?

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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