HITS Daily Double
"DRM makes absolutely no sense."
—-Greg Scholl, Orchard


Tower Earns Top Prize, Scissor Sisters Toss Barbs, DRM Trashed, Katz and Esposito Jam
In a moment of poignant and biting irony, Tower Records took home the Large Retailer of the Year award at Saturday night's NARM Award dinner. Tower's Kevin Cassidy accepted the honor with a heartfelt speech of thanks to the industry, ending on an optimstic note saying, "See you next year in Chicago." Tower was cut off by all of the major suppliers last week after another failed attempt to sell the legendary, yet beleagured chain amidst rumors that another filing could be in the offing under the new leadership of liquidation/ turnaround specialist CEO Joe D'Amico.
Other awards included: Redeye (Small Distributor), Subpop (Small Sofware Supplier), Electric Fetus (Small Wholesaler), Twist and Shout (Small Retailer), RED (Medium Distributor), Verve (Medium Software), Baker & Taylor (Medium Wholesaler), Waterloo (Medium Retailer), Rhino (Large Software Supplier) and WEA, taking home the coveted Large Distributor of the Year honors.
In an uncharacteristic move, Scissor Sisters, in the midst of a red-hot set opening the show, took a shot at Trans World from the stage: "FYI f.y.e. I went into one of your stores today to buy the new Raconteurs CD and when I saw it was $20, I put it back. We think that CDs should be $15 or less." There are unconfirmed rumors that Trans World might take retaliatory action. Kool and the Gang closed the show.
Earlier in the day, during an interesting seminar on technology and new media, the main message from the panelists was the need to do away with DRM (Digital Rights Management). Motorola's Dave Ulmer noted that his company makes a myriad of new phones every year but has to choose between which DRM each will use in order to utilze music downloading functions. Orchard's Greg Scholl stated bluntly: "DRM makes absolutely no sense." AOL's Erik Flannigan conceded that it has to exist at the subscription level, but he was also dead set against the use in other applications. Flannigan also went on to note that TV has leap-frogged music in terms of digital availability even though so many more people and entities need to get paid.
The parties raged all night as the 48th NARM confab came to a close. Interesting to note that in a gracious move Sony BMG Music Enterprise Co-President Jordan Katz joined winner WEA Prexy John Esposito in the WEA suite for a jam session that lasted hours.