||Friday, November 14, 2003
Rolling Stones open DVD deal to HMV
By ANGELA PACIENZA -- Canadian Press
TORONTO -- The Rolling Stones were willing to discuss proposals allowing at least one other retailer besides Best Buy to sell its new Four Flicks DVD, the band's management said Friday.
A letter sent to HMV on Nov. 10, a day before the release date of the four-disc collection, asked the CD chain for a distribution proposal for the DVD.
"The letter asked for the terms and conditions which you would ask if you were negotiating a deal on behalf of your product," said Fran Curtis, the New York-based publicist for the band and Michael Cohl, CEO of TGA Entertainment.
But HMV says that's not good enough, because one exclusive deal shouldn't be traded for another.
HMV made a formal request Wednesday to the Competition Bureau asking it to investigate the legality of an exclusive deal the Stones made with Best Buy and its Future Shop subsidiary to sell the new DVD.
"HMV is committed to having the Four Flicks DVD available in the marketplace on a non-exclusive basis to all retailers, on normal trade terms," company president Humphrey Kadaner said Friday. "We're not interested in replacing one exclusive arrangement with another."
HMV, as well as Sunrise and Music World stores, pulled all Stones merchandise from shelves on Oct. 28 to protest the Best Buy deal.
HMV, which has 100 stores across Canada, fears that exclusivity deals with big box stores, which don't stock a band's full catalogue, will become more common and hurt specialty music stores.
The battle is a sensitive one as retailers have been struggling for years to stay afloat under diminishing CD sales in the wake of Internet downloading.
Similarly, artists have been trying to find new ways to entice fans to buy music instead of ripping it from the web. One of those ways is through DVDs and bonus discs.
This isn't the first time an exclusivity deal has been questioned. In 2001 Best Buy made a deal to have early rights to U2's Elevation DVD. The plan was to sell the DVD exclusively through Best Buy stores in the U.S. for the first two weeks of sales. Afterwards it would have been stocked in regular CD shops.
But the band's music label gave in after American retailers caused a fuss. Music labels and CD retailers work closely together to promote CD sales and artists, and are typically eager to maintain friendly working relationships.
This time there is no label to negotiate with as the Stones' management company made the deal directly with Best Buy.
But it's a deal the band is happy with. Frontman Mick Jagger went on record after hearing about the ruckus to defend the band's decision.
"This is not like not allowing them to sell some blockbuster movie, which is going to sell two million DVDs in the first week, you know, a Raiders of the Lost Ark or something like that," he told The Associated Press. "I think that this is like really small potatoes compared to that."
He also said the deal gives fans a break. The four-disc set retails at Best Buy for $39.99.
"I feel bad for the stores that aren't going to have the product, but they have lots of other products, to be honest, and music videos don't sell anything like movie DVDs," Jagger said.
Best Buy hasn't revealed how much it paid for the exclusive selling rights but insiders have estimated the deal cost millions of dollars.
|SHINE A LIGHT
||I'M KIND OF DISAPPOINTED THAT THE STONES CAVED.