Column from November 6th, 2000 issue

Doesn't the music industry work in curious (for that read stupid!) ways? All the record labels are busy suing Napster, and what does BMG do? They go and strike a deal to form a "strategic alliance" with the very same Napster! The intention would be for Napster to then form a "membership based service" so it can deliver on-line music "legitimately". All the other labels initially said things "this is a positive step", but cut through all the bullshit and it's obviously a way for the labels to control as much as possible and find more ways to make money through online delivery methods. Like everything else on the internet, big business eventually moves in and looks for ways to exploit and make money, no matter how altruistic the original motives of whatever the service was in the first place. BMG clearly sees itself as going to be the dominant on-line major label - combine Napster and CD Now (which BMG also owns) and on paper you have something formidable. In practice it's probably not that great, but the concept is more than enough to get a bunch of short-sighted stockbrokers wetting themselves.

Not all the labels are excited about the deal though. Universal says it will continue its own case against Napster with the aim of closing it down and went as far to say that it thought BMG's announcement was a "PR announcement without any substance". Battle lines are being drawn in deciding the face of on-line music delivery, but everyone should realize it has nothing to do with any form of common good, rather it's just a way for record labels to act all friendly while taking more and more of your cash, for less and less in return.

In other happenings this week, seasoned Canadian musician Rick Rose is due to release a new album in late November called "Songs from the Studio B Sessions". Rick used to front the band Perfect Affair who issued one album on Attic in the mid-1980s and before that he lead the band Lennox which featured singer Johnny Dee before he joined Honeymoon Suite. Further details on the new release are available at http://www.rickrosemusic.com .

Jimmy Barnes will have a new album out this week and it's a follow up to his 1991 cover collection "Soul Deep". The new one's called "Soul Deeper - Songs from the South". The release covers 12 songs recorded in the US with Don Gehman producing, but the initial version also comes with an additional five bonus tracks. The first Soul Deep was an interesting alternative to the R&B with which Michael Bolton was finding mega success at the time, so it'll be interesting to see what effect a second dose has.

Bombastic British AOR band Balance of Power (who feature American vocalist Lance King) have written nine songs for their new album. A further two are expected to be composed before recording commences. The release is scheduled for March or April of next year. The band's former vocalist Tony Ritchie has also rejoined the band, though now he's playing bass.