HITS Daily Double
"There are enormous pirate [CD] exports around the world… and organized crime is playing a growing role."
—Jay Berman, IFPI


Tomorrow's Chapter 11 Stories Are Today's Hype-Saturated Press Releases

IT'S EASY AS 1-4-3
Digital media distribution company DigMedia Inc. announced today it will provide Web services to Warner Music Group's 143 Records, delivering online music, videos and media content. Fans of the Corrs, plus One and Beth Hart can now visit the 143 Records website at www.143records.com to listen and purchase music, in addition to accessing artist bios, tour dates and links. And as a result of Warner's recent merger with AOL, the budget for the venture was cut in half before the deal was signed.

Digital content encrypter and distributor Digital Media On Demand (DMOD) completed its second round of financing today. The company accepted $12.5 million from Pilot House Ventures, the Intel 64 Fund, and financiers Greylock Partners and Sage Hill Partners, bringing its private investment total to $14.5 million. DMOD distributes secure MP3 files, and develops software for record companies, studios and the like to distribute digital material safely, ostensibly insuring compensation. "With the $12.5 million in new capital, the company will continue to research, develop and deploy technology that further standardizes secure digital distribution on the Internet," said DMOD President and CEO Curtis Robert. "This will allow me greater development resources for my Miracle Restorative Elixir, with magical healing powers distilled from the venom of the mighty Indian cobra."

MP3.com's website has added a companion information window, The Insider, which opens each time a user accesses a playlist or chart on the company's site It then prompts visitors to view song titles, communicate with artists, send songs to friends via e-mail or add tunes to their My.MP3.com account. The Insider works with most major players, too, so users won't have to download any software to use it. Founder Michael Robertson recently announced the netco would reach profitability in 2001, and was promptly sued by five indie labels, two publishers and a hot dog vendor.

Beware of pirates! That's what the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) warned record companies. The IFPI reports that CD pirating is just as popular as ever. The organization claims that pirates are producing more than 500 million CDs a year, costing the industry about $5 billion. Last week, IFPI head Jay Berman told 10,000 industry executives that piracy has become global. "There are enormous pirate exports around the world… and organized crime is playing a growing role," he said, shortly before receiving a call on his cell from a guy named Bruno "The Fist" Castigliano. The IFPI, which is currently leading 100 international investigations, says it is poised to take on Internet piracy and anticipates a favorable ruling in the Napster copyright infringement case. Sounds like a snap! In a related story, who the hell are these people?

Looking to find Jennifer Lopez online? In addition to a number of family-unfriendly sites featuring the Pop star, broadband manager NaviSite and DRM company Reciprocal have teamed to present the artist's "online listening parties," which will Webcast her new LP, "J.Lo." The first portion of the promotion, a live chat and the streaming of music from her new CD, happened this afternoon (3 p.m./ET), at Jenniferlopez.com. The album will stream again tonight at 7 p.m. ET and the chat transcript will be available at the site. "J.Lo" hits retail tomorrow (Jan. 23).

Sony and JVC are teaming up to distribute music on the Internet. JVC's Victor Entertainment subsidiary will diffuse the music online through Sony's Label Gate division. Label Gate will, in turn, provide copyright protection technology and royalties. JVC also plans to launch a music site with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which will utilize different protocols for the memory media used to store downloaded songs than Sony. Meanwhile, JVC plans to cut its workforce by 16% during the next three years, with most lay-offs stemming from the Jennifer Love Hewitt sales department.

Inter-Con/PC has entered a strategic alliance with Jackson Music Studios.Com for the development, production, sale and distribution of the entertainment-based Z-2001 Set-Top Box. The Z-2001 appliance plays DVDs, CDs and music videos and interactive games and offers e-mail, Internet access, secure online purchasing and video conferencing. The device can be used on a standard television. Jackson Music Studio is a newly formed branch of Jackson Holding Trust, figure-headed by Jackson 5 patriarch Joe Jackson. Said Inter-Con/PC Chairman/CEO Michael P. Ferderer: "We are very pleased to partner with Jackson Music Studios.Com. This strategic partnership will utilize the combined resources, contacts and expertise of both companies to more effectively target and focus the marketing efforts of the Z-2001 Set-Top Box towards the entertainment industry. Not to mention Joe promised to show me the jars that contain Michael, Janet and LaToya's real noses and to let me play with Tito!"

Arizona-based CyberRadio.com has announced the launch of its Cyber Centers License Program. Its plan is to license 55-75 independently owned Cyber Centers across the U.S. in the next 24 months. Each Cyber Center will offer services that will interface with Cyber Radio's Internet Music Promotions and Internet Music Library divisions, including inChorus.com's offering of voice, animation, sound and graphics for e-mail marketing and advertising. The first Cyber Center has been bought by former Jay And The Americans singer Jay Scowden, who decided to license a Cyber Center after an unsuccessful bid to revive his career by re-recording his '60s hit "Come A Little Bit Closer" as "Come A Little Bit Closer, You Punk-Ass Bitch."

Digital Island has unveiled the new TraceWare 3.0 suite of services. TraceWare's first unit, TraceWare Remote 3.0, allows such digital content distribution as authorized audio and video downloads. More TraceWare systems will be offered later this year, based on whatever becomes completely outmoded this year. Digital rights management provider Reciprocal has embraced the technology for geographically restricted music promotions in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. Said Digital Island chief marketing officer Tim Wilson: "Digital Island is the first Internet infrastructure provider to offer worldwide geographical intelligence down to the metropolitan level, enabling greater personalization for specific distribution and targeting of content. You are getting sleepy. You will obey only my voice. You will give Digital Island more venture capital."

Music.com has launched Music.com France SA, which plans to offer music information and community content in France. While the Paris-based company will cover all aspects and genres of French and international music, the site will offer French artists the opportunity to reach much wider audiences and to expand beyond their regional borders through exposure on Music.com's global music network. Said Music.com France SA President/CEO Philippe Astor: "Music.com France opens ze door for ze artists and ze labels to reach both expanded audiences in zair local communities and to achieve increased international exposure and cross-pollination. It also promises ze rudest interface evair devised. Ohoho!" Jerry Lewis couldn't be reached for comment.

BBC Worldwide has struck a music-streaming agreement with musicmusicmusic inc. The British broadcasting giant will allow its "BBC In Concert" series to be carried on websites in the U.S. and Canada.

The deal is only the latest coup for the netco, which was the first interactive Internet radio station to be licensed by the Recording Industry Association of America. Said musicmusicmusic Manager of Licensing and Industry Relations Phil Lubman: "This is without doubt one of the greatest events to hit the Internet. For the first time, music lovers can hear classic concerts, not available on CD, from the biggest bands in the world, whenever they wish. This is surely a dream come true for the real music fan. If only we could figure out a way to make money from it."

U.K. online content provider Tornado has paired with V2 to offer the label's music to Web surfers. The deal will bring V2 artists including Moby, Stereophonics and Underworld into Tornado's delivery fold. Said Tornado Managing Director Ian Watson: "The agreement with V2 is significant at the moment but its future revenue depends on the artists V2 can sign." The announcement drove up Tornado's stock 23%, making it exchangeable for garageband.com promotional keychains.