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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

Web Ads on CD Jackets Anger Record Store Exec

October 04, 1998|Steve Hochman

Some record store chain operators ponder whether the titillating cover art on albums by Marilyn Manson, Nashville Pussy, et al might be offensive.

To the heads of the Musicland/Sam Goody chain, the nation's largest music retailer, something else on album covers is proving offensive: information directing consumers to Internet sites.

At a recent National Assn. of Record Merchandisers convention in San Diego, Dick Odette, vice president of prerecorded music for the chain, floated the notion that his stores might refuse to carry CDs emblazoned with Web site addresses through which consumers can purchase music.

A ban of that nature could have wide-ranging impact. Most major record labels are now active on the Internet with their own Web sites, often identified on album covers, which offer some sort of direct sales or a link to such sites as CD Now, Music Boulevard or Amazon.com, which specialize in Internet music sales.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 11, 1998 Home Edition Calendar Page 87 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 22 words Type of Material: Correction
Web site--The address for the official Marilyn Manson Web site is http://www.marilynmanson.net. An incorrect address was given in last Sunday's Pop Eye.

And an increasing number of artists have their own Web sites that also sell merchandise. Manson, for example, has http://www.marilynmanson.com, designed and administered by the Ultimate Band List firm, which has set up sites for others, from Ozzy Osbourne to the Rolling Stones.

Musicland spokesman Brant Skogrand confirmed that Odette raised the issue in "personal and private conversations" with record label executives, but would not elaborate on whether there are any plans to institute a policy on the matter.

Other retailers and music executives say that while Odette's concerns about promoting competing businesses are legitimate, a ban on Web site information on CDs would be both impractical and shortsighted.

"It was the talk of [the convention]," says J.J. Rosen, president of the Music Boulevard Network, an Internet service specializing in music sales and a division of N2K Inc., which also has a record label.

"I don't know if [Odette] was just testing the waters or if a decision has been made. And I haven't heard momentum building up among other retailers for this. I would be surprised if they actually put pressure on record companies to [stop promoting Web sites]. It's an incredible channel for artists to reach fans."

Jim Dickson, vice president of new media for Warner Bros. Records, which offers direct sales of many of its products via an Internet site that is listed on the back covers of its releases, is currently working on a Web site for R.E.M.'s upcoming "Up" album, among others. "Any company these days is expected to have a presence on the Internet," he says. "The beauty of the Internet is you're able to reach out to consumers directly and do business with them directly.

"Obviously, we're still selling our records through the standard retail chains, and we do everything we can to support that. But at the same time, we're in a networked economy now, and people expect to be able to reach us in that context, and we're taking advantage like everyone is on this paradigm shift in the business."

HANUKKAH ROCKS: Perry Farrell, recently reconnected with his Orthodox Jewish roots, and Peter Himmelman, an observant Orthodox Jew whose faith has long been central to his songs, are teaming to create a new song for Hanukkah. The pair intend to perform the piece at a series of parties in the Jewish community during the eight-day Festival of Light, which begins this year on Dec. 13.

Farrell had also planned to guest on a recording of a new Himmelman song, "Eyeball," which will be added to the latter's upcoming album, "Love Thinketh No Evil," due via Six Degrees Records in January. But the Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros frontman went out of town and was unavailable. Instead, former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrena is producing and playing on the track.

GLOBAL BEATS: Can you rave in daylight? We'll find out Saturday at the L.A. site of Earthdance '98, a dance music event that will be held simultaneously in 18 countries around the world to raise awareness and money for Tibetan issues. London is the primary location for the party, which starts there at 7 p.m. and goes all night.

In L.A., though, that means 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.--ending at a time when such gatherings are usually just getting started. All the sites will be linked by Internet connections, with a "global meditation" planned for midnight, Greenwich Mean Time--4 p.m. here.

The outdoor locale has not been announced yet for the L.A. event, which will feature Freaky Chakra as the headlining act, with deejays Doc Marten, Jason Bentley, the Bud Brothers and John Kelly among those spinning. More information is available via the Web site http://www.earthdance.org and a hotline, (213) 368-8284. It's being organized here by Heartcore, a charitable entity associated with the Southern California rave community.

This is actually the second year, though last year's L.A. party was put together at the last minute and was sparsely attended. Internationally, though, it was a solid start, with nearly 3,000 people attending the London event and enough money raised to construct an orphanage in Tibet. The goal this year is to fund a documentary about Tibet-related issues.

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