Sept. 9, 2005: Play Meter Plans To Publish October Issue; Betson, Employees To Send $21,500 For Hurricane Relief; TouchTunes To Match Operators' Relief Program Donations; Cell Phones, Coke Venders To Download Music

Posted On: 9/9/2005

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Play Meter Magazine Intends To Resume Publication From New Site

ST. LOUIS - Play Meter magazine publisher Carol Lally and her widely scattered staff will make a determined effort to publish an October issue despite the temporary loss of their New Orleans-area headquarters, files and equipment. The decision came Thursday morning after a telephone conference call between Lally (in Scottsdale, AZ), editor-in-chief Valerie Cognevich (in Annandale, VA), managing editor Bonnie Theard (in Glenview, IL), and other PM members. As reported earlier by "Ahead of the Times," everyone from the company evacuated safely from the Big Easy before Hurricane Katrina struck.

St. Louis, home of PM's printing services vendor, is slated to host PM's editorial, ad sales and production until its original headquarters is reclaimed. PM's three-story building in Metairie, LA, sits approximately four blocks from one of the major levee breaks; much of the company's key computer equipment was located on the first floor. A variety of industry members (including friends and other trade press) have offered a range of assistance to PM and its popular personalities including materiel, technical aid, and financial support. The PM website says all of the publication's e-mail addresses are now working. Those wishing to contact the organization by mail may do so through Play Meter, C/O Carol Lally, 7926 E. Solano Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85250.

Betson Enterprises, Imperial International Match Employee Donations

CARLSTADT, NJ , H. Betti Industries will match the $10,500 raised by its employees in an internal company fundraising drive with an additional $10,500; as a result HBI and its personnel will make a $21,000 total donation to aid in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The employees of all the Betson Enterprises and Imperial International offices generously contributed funds, said HBI management. The donation will go to The Salvation Army, earmarked for Gulf Coast disaster relief. "We are proud of this response from our employees and equally pleased to see the overall industry's response from our fellow companies and associations," said Betson president Bob Geschine. "We are hopeful all these efforts will help bring some comfort to those who are suffering so greatly." Betson executives have vowed to work with customers whose businesses were destroyed or who suffered tremendous loss in an effort to help re-establish their business roots.

TouchTunes To Launch Matching-Donation Hurricane Relief Program

BUFFALO GROVE, IL , TouchTunes Music Corp. is launching a cooperative fundraising effort with its jukebox operators to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. All participating operators will be named as donors when the funds are turned over to relief agencies. TouchTunes will match funds that are voluntarily donated by operators of its downloading jukeboxes (TouchTunes is asking its operators to donate 5¢ for each song that patrons download from their Tune Central song libraries from Sept. 19 through Oct. 15, 2005). TouchTunes will coordinate resulting donations with other programs underway in the coin-op industry. Program details will be released at next week's AMOA Expo in Las Vegas. Per-song donations will be charged to operators' TouchTunes accounts.

TouchTunes vice-president of sales and marketing Dan McAllister said if 100% of operators participate, the program could generate as much as $300,000 in aid (about three million Tune Central plays occur monthly). He said the fundraising program isn't intended to increase the cost-per-play to the jukebox user. Participating operators will be able to have their jukeboxes display on-screen graphics that inform patrons that the operator is donating part of his or her proceeds to hurricane relief efforts. "TouchTunes feels strongly committed to offering humanitarian support to an area of the country that has made such a vital contribution to American popular music and, more importantly, to bring comfort and solace to the victims of this unprecedented tragedy." said CEO John Perrachon.

Music-Downloading Cell Phones And Vending Machines Announced

U.S.A. , Downloading music to mobile devices (cell phones, PDAs, etc.) is exploding in the U.S. and worldwide. This week Apple, Motorola and Cingular announced the global rollout of "Rokr," a cell phone that can port 100 music tracks from the user's PC to the phone's onboard memory. Standard accessories include stereo speakers, headphones and dedicated music keys, making "Rokr" a portable jukebox. The ad campaign will feature many music stars including Madonna (iTunes offers her full catalog). "Rokr" will also enjoy wide support from major phone carriers in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Said Motorola CEO Ed Zander: "We're revolutionizing the way the world experiences mobile self-expression and entertainment." Just days earlier, Verizon launched a competing cell phone that downloads MP3 files.

Meanwhile, The Coca-Cola Co. has partnered with British digital content provider Inspired Broadcast Networks to test DSL-connected vending machines that can download music to a cell phone through consumers' mobile networks or Bluetooth connections. (The machines also vend Coke the old-fashioned way.) An initial five-machine test in Ireland will expand to more than 200 locations later this year and may then grow to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. No plans for U.S. release have been announced yet, possibly because the U.S. lags many other world markets in broadband deployment. Inspired provides content to Leisure Link's vast downloading jukebox and entertainment network in the UK. Top market research firms say the global market for music downloading to mobile devices will reach $6.4 billion by 2008.