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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Video Retailers Have a Lot to Complain About, But Pity Their Poor Peers in the Music Business

4 Dec, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Video retailers have a lot to complain about, but pity their poor peers in the music retail business.

Video dealers squawked like crazy last week when the news broke that several major studios are testing digital downloading of movies; in the music business, digital downloading is already a budding industry, with the full support and consent (now that they're assured of getting a cut) of the major labels.

Video dealers are angry with the studios for cutting direct revenue-sharing deals with Blockbuster and several other big chains, but in the music business, labels are in direct competition with their retail customers.

Columbia House's parentage has long been a sore spot among retailers, and the moans only grew louder when BMG bought CDNow, one of the top online music stores, and pumped a load of money and promotional support into the struggling Web site.

At least one major label is allegedly trying to encourage consumers to buy directly from its Web site by adding some promotional "extras" to its CDs.

And you think video retailers are having a hard time getting co-op from the studios? Ask any of the few remaining independent music dealers how much support they've been getting of late from the big labels.

I felt VSDA chief Bo Andersen was being a little cheesy when he kept referring to studios as "our partners" in recent speeches he's given, but in light of what's been happening in the music business, he wasn't that far off the mark.

In video, the studios can rightfully be accused of parental neglect and perhaps even favoritism.

But at least they don't eat their young!

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

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