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Karaoke News around the WorldKaraoke World News

KAPA Cracks Down on Copyright Infringement
Piracy Hurts Music Industry
        
U.S. Marshals Seize Karaoke Disks:
          •Rochester, NY - March 14, 2001
             
•Detroit, MI - March 14, 2001
        Canada -Raids Net Counterfeit Karaoke Discs:
            
•Kapa Crosses Border on Copyright Infringement
             •Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario- June 9, 2001
             •Pictures of the June 9, 2001 Bust
       
UK Copyright Infringement Brings Stiff Penalties

SunnComm Lands $1 Million Karaoke Deal
Karaoke Drowns out Tornado Warnings
Coffin Maker Dead Serious About Karaoke
MTV Star Makeovers - Karaoke has its Privileges
Jeff Healey Opens Toronto Nightclub with Karaoke
Man Shot as Karaoke Song Triggers "Instant Hit"
Thai Monks Defrocked by Wine, Women and Song
Songbird Cop Proves Karaoke Can Kill
Prince William a Karaoke King
Religion Rocks in Kampala
Influential Asians of the 20th Century
Pubs Start A Karaoke League
Karaoke-Phobia - Thousands of Japanese Afflicted
Yamaha's Karaoke Distribution Service for I-Appli
German Court Finds AOL Guilty of Internet Piracy
Copyright & Artist Protection - Impact on Karaoke
Raunchy Songs Sparks Deadly Barroom Brawl
Vicar Puts Karaoke Machine in Church
Karaoke Taxi Keeps Passengers Amused
Ottawa Firm WOWs the Web - EatSleepMusic.Com
Karaoke Funeral for Drowned Friends
Music Site Music to Amateurs`Ears


KAPA CRACKS DOWN ON
KARAOKE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Rochester, NY (March 14, 2001)

In December of 2000, a private investigator representing KAPA engaged in conversation with Karaoke host Andy Schneider at a Restaurant/Bar in Rochester, NY.  During the course of the conversation, Andy offered to burn copies of the CDGs for the investigator.  During subsequent conversations, Andy was given a cash advance towards the completion of the job. 

Working in conjunction with the NY State Police and the Monroe County Assistant District Attorney, the investigator made arrangements to meet Schneider at his residence and finalize the transaction.  On January 29, 2001, Andrew Schneider completed the sale of 115 counterfeit CDGs with the private investigator.  Once the CDGs were identified as counterfeit, the NY State Police arrested Schneider at his residence.  He has been charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the 3rd Degree.  The trial date has not been set as of this posting.  KAPA is seeking full restitution for the cost of the investigation and for lost revenue.  

Detroit, MI  (March 14, 2001)

As a result of tips to KAPA, investigators representing KAPA, discovered a karaoke host using illegal copies of CDGs in her show.  After investigating this host, the investigator reported this illegal activity to the authorities. On March 1, 2001 US Marshalls seized 49 counterfeit CDGs from Ms. Speigel during her show in Detroit, MI. Speigel, who is co-partners with Platinum Entertainment, was served with a complaint, motion, order, writ and summons.  Ms. Speigel admitted that she was aware the CDGs were copies.  The illegal copies were seized and will be held as evidence pending court action.  Speigal purchased the copied CDGs from another source.  Further investigations and actions are forthcoming.  This case is very early in the litigation stage.  Updates on this case and others will be posted at www.karaokeantipiracyagency.com.

Piracy Hurts Music Firms
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - More than $3 billion in lost revenue will slip through the hands of major recording labels by 2005.

How does  piracy affect everyone?
What many people fail to realize is that the harm caused by  piracy affects more than they may think. It affects the U.S. economy - with a 27% piracy rate in the United States, the economic effects are significant - in 1998, there was a loss of over 25,000 jobs and a loss of over US $400 million in tax revenues as a result of piracy.

Pirating  is stealing and the more revenue that is lost because of stolen goods, the less that can be spent by companies for further research and development for new products and new innovations. Everyone suffers from the acts of a few.


KAPA fully supports SDMI efforts to develop open technology specifications that protect the playing, storing, and distributing of digital music to insure that the creators of content are compensated and that the future for the creative arts is protected.

Man Shot as Karaoke Song Triggers Instant Hit
Tokyo - There was a whole new meaning given to the term hit song on Thursday when a middle-aged Japanese carpenter was arrested for allegedly shooting his drinking buddy in an argument over a karaoke song.

Police in Yokohama arrested Shigeru Yoshida, 51, and found a revolver in bushes near his house, a police spokesman said.

"He admitted the shooting," spokesman Fujiyasu Otaka told AFP.

Yoshida and 53-year-old taxi driver Genshou Shimajiri were drinking at a karaoke bar in Yokohama late on Wednesday and started fighting over who would sing the next song, the spokesman said.

"Yoshida and Shimajiri are drinking friends. They got into a fight over who got to sing a karaoke song," he said.

"At the bar, Shimajiri hit Yoshida with a beer bottle, injuring his head really badly."

Yoshida then summoned his drinking mate outside the bar to a nearby parking lot and shot him several times, the spokesman said.

"Shimajiri did not think the fight was still on when he was called outside," he said.

The taxi driver was seriously injured with wounds to his abdomen and right arm and would need to be hospitalised for three to six months, the spokesman said.

"We are investigating the case, including how Yoshida obtained the gun," he added.

Karaoke in Asia's late-night bars appears to be becoming an increasingly risky business.

A Thai policeman last June confessed to shooting one man and attempting to kill another in a Bangkok bar because they booed when he got up to sing the same number for a third time. - Sapa-AFP

Thai Monks Defrocked by Wine, Women & Song - Oct. 30, 2000

Bangkok - A rash of scandals involving senior Buddhist monks caught carousing in karaoke bars, driving luxury cars and hiring prostitutes is threatening to destroy confidence in the religion in Thailand...

Songbird Cop A Karaoke Killer - June 29 2000

Bangkok - A Thai policeman has confessed to shooting one man and attempting to kill another because they booed his karaoke performance, police said on Thursday.

Police Lieutenant Corporal Jirawat Sangworn, 25, has admitted both charges, claiming he was provoked by the victims name-calling when he was about to sing the same song for the third time in a row.

"The suspect confessed that he just could not stand for their teasing," a police spokesperson said.

Jirawat had been singing karaoke in the early hours of Wednesday in Bangkok's Huay Kwang district, a major nightlife area filled with massive karaoke clubs. - Source Sapa-AFP

Prince William a Karaoke King - April 2, 2000

London, England - April 2, 2000 Britain's Prince William gave his own version of a Royal Command Performance when he took part in a karaoke competition in a hotel bar, it emerged on Sunday.

The normally shy 17-year-old joined three classmates from Eton for a version of the Village People disco era classic YMCA at the Crossways Hotel in Thornley, England.

Hotel owner John Hudson said: "William and 40 other boys from Eton were staying here during a four-day geography field trip to the Newcastle area of northern England, including an inner city housing estate and a plant in South Shields.

"On Thursday night we were holding our usual karaoke evening when William leant over to me and suggested we make it into a challenge match with the Eton pupils representing the South and our regulars representing the North.

"William and his friends took centre stage for one of the songs and they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. William just acted like one of the crowd. He's a very polite, quiet and likeable young man."

The Eton pupils and their five teachers were staying at the two-star Crossways Hotel during the field trip and were allowed to join patrons for evenings at the bar for an hour before bed.

Hudson said: "The behaviour of the boys was impeccable. They got on splendidly with the locals and there was certainly no drunkenness or bad behaviour.

"William and his friends were very good and got a huge cheer when they finished. They didn't do the actions to the song because they seemed to be concentrating on the words too hard."

Asked for an official response, a spokeswoman for St James's Palace said it would be "churlish" to deny that the young prince took part in the karaoke session but would give no further comment as he was on his own private time. - Source - Sapa-DPA

Religion Rocks in Kampala - October 11 1999

Kampala - Ugandan evangelists have found a new set of allies in their battle to convert the people - discos, nightclubs and karaoke evenings.

This year, the annual gospel and evangelical extravaganza, undertaken jointly by the churches, has moved away from its home at the Kampala Pentecostal Church. It was instead held at Sabrina's Pub, a karaoke nightclub. Organisers said by taking it to the nightclub they sought to reach people who normally don't go to church.

God's word is also being taken to discotheques. Beginning this month, Club Silk - one of the top joints in Kampala - will host a 'Gospel Night' every last Sunday of the month to enable "good church-going folks to get together, enjoy the best Gospel music and make new friends of like mind"...........

Influential Asians of the 20th century - August 15 1999
Hong Kong - Time magazine has named Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Japanese karaoke inventor Daisuke Inoue and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama among the most influential Asians of the century.

Pubs Start Karaoke League

United Kingdom - Pool and darts teams in Stockport's pubs will be joined by teams of singers for the town's first pub karaoke league season.

Landlord of the Blue Bell in Edgeley, Quentin McDonald has set up the nine-pub league along with Mark Botham who runs the local pub guide. The first games are set for September 4.

Each team will have four singers - and there will be home and away legs.

Mr McDonald told Ananova: "Deep down, I think we would all like karaoke to go quietly away, but it's good for trade."

He said: "It will be much, much better than the Eurovision Song Contest and there will be less politics involved in the judging.

Thousands of Japanese Suffer from 'Karaoke-phobia'

Japan - Karaoke fans may be harming themselves, as well as anyone within ear shot, when they take to the stage.

In Japan thousands of people suffer from "karaoke-phobia", reports the South China Morning Post. Sufferers fear the dreaded machine so much that they become ill when faced with one.

Toru Yuba, a professional singer, told the paper that around 600 people have turned to him for help with their voices.

However, it is not only "karaoke-phobes" that can suffer. Keito University Hospital in Tokyo says ten per cent of patients suffering "throat polyps" have contracted them through singing karaoke.

The condition is common among professionals who use their voices a lot. But now doctors, who blame dry air and the consumption of alcohol for its rise, commonly discuss "karaoke polyps".

Yamaha Starts Karaoke Distribution for I-Appli

CALLING ALL SINGERS...
_____________________________

March 9, 2001 (TOKYO) -- Yamaha Corp. on March 5 started a new karaoke music distribution service compliant with "i-Appli," a service offered through Java-applications for "i-mode" mobile phones.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. unveiled the Java-compliant i-mode handset in January 2001.

The monthly charge for Yamaha's new service is 100 yen (approximately US$0.83 at 119.70 yen = US$1) for unlimited use.

As the karaoke music is downloaded in the form of streaming data, the received music data cannot be stored within the users' cellular phones.

Yamaha initially is offering the service for two models of i-mode mobile phone, "F503i" and "P503i." More i-Appli-compliant models will be available for the service on demand.

The karaoke music list will consist of 120 pieces in total by the end of March 2001. The latest popular songs in Japan, which are enjoyed as "J-Pop" among Japanese youngsters, will make up most of the list. At the start of this service, Yamaha prepared 60 hit songs including "M" by Ayumi Hamasaki and "Love Machine" by Morning Musume.

German Court Finds AOL Guilty of Internet Piracy

By Deborah Durham-Vichr
www.NewsFactor.com

Friday March 09, 2001 -

Restrictive online copyright protection may have been bolstered by a German appeals court, which has upheld a ruling against America Online (NYSE: AOL - news) that found the Internet giant responsible for pirated material swapped on its service.

AOL spokesman Rich D'Amato told NewsFactor Network that AOL would seek another appeal: "We have not yet received the court's judgment. At present, it appears that the judge has replaced the well-established legal principle of 'notice and take down' with a standard that goes well beyond that."

The Frankfurt district court ruling Friday upheld the determination of a Bavarian state court in Munich last April that Internet service providers (ISPs) are responsible for pirated material traded on their systems.

D'Amato contended that when AOL is made aware that a third party has transferred illegal content via their service, they block access as soon as possible. This fact would be a part of their appeal, he told NewsFactor.

A Case for Karaoke

The plaintiff in the case was a German music company, Hit Box Software, which sued AOL Germany for copyright violation when users swapped illegally copied music files via AOL's online service. The Munich court also set up payment guidelines for damages.

Hit Box claimed that three instrumental versions of pop hits, among them "Get Down" by the BackStreet Boys, were downloaded at least a thousand times on AOL in 1997, according to media reports.

The digital recordings were meant for karaoke tracks, which Hit Box sells on CD for US$15. The company was seeking a reported $50,000 in damages but the decision Friday put off any ruling for damage amounts.

In a related matter that may point to a growing chasm between U.S. and European legal treatment of ISP responsibility, a Florida Supreme Court ruled for AOL Thursday, stating that ISPs are not responsible for material created by their customers. The high-profile case involved the much more heinous crime of a videotaped child molestation being peddled via an AOL chat room.

Blow to Black Market

Nevertheless, the case shows a growing impatience by courts for pirated material, the easiest of which to propagate online are music files.

The most notorious of all swapping sagas, of course, is that of Napster, which just this week lost its famous case to the major record labels for copyright infringement.

Copyright & Artist Protections Issues...Impact on Karaoke

Los Angeles - 3/29/01

Copyright & Artist Protections Issues...some impact on karaoke (as far as who would get to control publishing rights).

Recording Stars Challenge Music Labels' Business Practices

A showdown is brewing in the music business, pitting some of the world's biggest stars against the conglomerates that employ them.
Dozens of major artists are mobilizing to take on the music establishment, demanding better contracts, beefed-up copyright protection and free-agency status. They are exploring formation of a labor union to provide health-care and pension benefits and fighting for new rules on ownership of their creative material.

One Los Angeles-based artist coalition is preparing to lobby Congress to look into what some call the unconscionable business practices of the Big Five music companies.

Stars from virtually every genre of popular music are stepping forward, including Don Henley, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Sam Moore and Courtney Love.

Should these artists prevail, their collective bargaining efforts would radically rewrite the economics of the music business in the same way that unionizing actors and baseball players revolutionized the film and sports industries. And though stars are leading this effort, the fundamental changes they are seeking could have a profound effect on every recording artist.

"It's nearly impossible to imagine a music business where recording artists have bargaining clout," said Michael Nathanson, a media analyst at investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "It would cause the traditional economic model to collapse. The industry as we know it would cease to exist."

Singer-songwriter Don Henley, co-founder of the Recording Artists Coalition, which represents dozens of stars, including Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Q-Tip and Peggy Lee, said: "Record companies have been screwing artists for ages. It's time we organize and fight back. We've got our own trade group now. We're going to Washington."

Record Labels Say System Makes Sense

Although executives representing the five largest record companies declined to comment for this article, privately they maintain that the economic structure of the industry makes sense and is fair to artists.

Still, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers are interested in examining artist rights issues. "The rights of artists in the contract and bargaining progress with respect to copyrights, health-care coverage and other issues is a discussion that is not only worth having, it is long overdue," Conyers said.

The Recording Artists Coalition is considering joining forces with Artists Against Piracy, a Los Angeles-based organization headed by singer-songwriter Noah Stone that represents 90 acts, such as Herbie Hancock, Shelby Lynne, Bon Jovi and the Dixie Chicks. Stone launched Artists Against Piracy to fight for digital copyright protection and is now expanding into other artist rights issues.

A third effort is being forged by Courtney Love. The rock singer and actress captured the industry's attention last month when she sued to break her contract with Vivendi Universal, the world's largest record conglomerate. She is hoping to use the lawsuit to expose the industry's "corrupt" accounting practices, claiming the labels deduct exorbitant fees for product breakage and promotional giveaways and pay reduced royalty rates for albums sold overseas and in record clubs.

Since filing her lawsuit, Love has received hundreds of e-mails from prominent artists, including Prince, in support of her petition calling for a labor union to help music acts secure pension plans and health benefits packages and regain ownership of their recordings. Existing unions representing musicians largely focus on session singers and the live-performing end of the business and not on recording artists. Recording musicians receive few benefits.

A union for recording artists could force changes to the controversial accounting methods under which companies "underpay artists as an institutional practice," said attorney John Branca, who represents such acts as TLC and Michael Jackson. "With strike leverage, artists could attain free agency."

Angry artists began to organize after discovering that lobbyists for the Recording Industry Assn. of America, the political arm of the nation's five largest music conglomerates, had persuaded lawmakers to quietly insert an amendment in a bill that would prevent music acts from regaining control of their recordings in the future.

Recording Artists Coalition members and other artists protested and successfully lobbied Congress to repeal the amendment.

The recording industry group's chief, Hilary Rosen, declined to comment.

The Recording Artists Coalition, which is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about digital copyright issues, is building a $5-million fund through benefit concerts for the purpose of lobbying lawmakers on artist-rights issues. But that money, Henley acknowledges, is just a sliver of the $40 million amassed last year by the recording industry, some of which was used to push its agenda on Capitol Hill.

Privately, music executives scoffed at the criticisms raised by Love, Henley and others.

They said artists voluntarily sign "industry-standard" recording agreements and are paid fair royalties based on "time-honored industry accounting practices."

The business is stacked in favor of the labels, executives said, because the companies sink enormous amounts of capital into developing and marketing new artists, few of whom ever make money. Without long-term contracts, music chiefs said, companies would have no incentive to underwrite the risky enterprise in which only 5% of the 3,000 albums released last year turned a profit.

Because so many records fail, the standard contract is structured to allow labels to extract much of their earnings from the handful of blockbuster albums each year. And what complaining artists fail to consider, executives said, is that the cost of doing business is skyrocketing. According to label chiefs, the price of signing talent, producing videos, promoting records and inking joint ventures has nearly tripled in recent years, squeezing profit margins in a business already threatened by encroaching Internet piracy.

And the contract, executives said, is not set in stone. Labels typically renegotiate a new deal immediately after an artist scores a hit, offering huge advances and higher royalty rates in exchange for additional albums. If the act's follow-up album tanks, executives said, the company eats the loss, which often runs into millions of dollars.

Many big stars with successful track records said they are happy with their companies. Acts at the top of the food chain--such as U2, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan--have been able to renegotiate lucrative pacts with eight-figure advances that allow them to reclaim ownership of their recordings and publishing rights.

Label chiefs characterize the complaints as sour grapes from a collection of aging, over-the-hill acts whose recent albums have failed in the marketplace.

Industry analysts, however, said the unionizing effort could significantly alter entry-level contract terms for young music groups.

"Look, I don't have any love for record company practices, but costs are so high now that most of these public conglomerates are struggling just to make their quarterly numbers," said attorney Don Passman, who represents R.E.M. and Janet Jackson. "The fact is companies these days often have to invest $750,000 to $1 million per act before they learn whether they're going to earn a penny in profit. And it's no secret how few artists actually succeed."

Love has no sympathy for those who run the record companies.

"How do the guys running these labels get away with a 95% failure rate that would be totally unacceptable in any other type of business?" Love asked. "I'll tell you how: because they pay artists only a tiny fraction of the billions that their music generates. That's what allows so many overpaid executives to be so incredibly sloppy in running these public companies."

It's a business model rooted in what Love calls an illegal industry-standard contract that requires artists to underwrite their own recordings, videos, advertising, marketing, promotion and tour support before they are paid royalties. The contract, she said, typically keeps artists tied to a single label their entire career, while preventing them from ever owning their own music.

Love compares the plight of recording artists to that of movie stars before the founding of the Screen Actors Guild and baseball players before they launched their union. Without collective bargaining clout, Love said, artists will never obtain health benefits or pension plans or be able to stand up in any way to the Big Five music conglomerates, which she said work together as an unlawful trust restraining trade and competition. Many of Love's colleagues agree.

Interests of Artists Are Unprotected, Some Say

They complain that while studio singers are represented by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA, and instrumentalists are represented by the American Federation of Musicians, there has never been an organization looking out exclusively for the interests of recording artists. Recording artists said those unions are eager to collect dues from recording acts who perform on TV or in clubs, but reluctant to provide health benefits or pension funds as spelled out under their charters.

"Do we need a real union to fight for our rights?" asked singer Sam Moore of the legendary 1960s soul duo Sam & Dave. "Damn right we do!"

The 65-year-old Moore, whose recordings have generated tens of millions of dollars in the last four decades, has been locked in a lengthy legal battle with AFTRA's pension arm trying to recover unpaid pension funds. The entertainer, who filed his AFTRA suit along with the heirs of Curtis Mayfield and half a dozen other soul stars, said he still must tour regularly to make ends meet.

Moore is luckier than most. Soul singer Jackie Wilson was buried without a headstone. Motown stars Mary Wells and Florence Ballard (one of the original Supremes) both died as welfare recipients.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Jimmy Reed and Howlin' Wolf lived in destitute conditions, abandoned by the same industry that now sings their praises.

"The ones making the music aren't the ones making the money," said 63-year-old country legend Merle Haggard in an interview from his touring bus. "Let me tell you how it works: The artist pays for everything and ends up with nothing. The big boys with the cigars, they get it all."

Haggard has scored dozens of hits on the country chart since he broke into the business 40 years ago, generating millions of dollars for the industry. Haggard said several labels have swindled him since he signed his original deal in 1962--a contract under which he collected just a nickel per album after the company extracted advances for studio, promotion and touring costs.

"Not only do they cheat you on the way in," Haggard said, "they rob you on the way out.

Acclaimed songwriter Tom Waits said his first contract paid him only about 15 cents per copy sold in the United States. "I've spent more time in court than I have in the studio and more money on lawyers than I have on engineers. So what does that tell you?" Waits asked.

"This thing is very unfair, and the companies know it. You're very young when they push this contract in front of you. It's like you're some 15-year-old girl, and everybody's saying, 'Baby, you're so beautiful. Please, come join our modeling agency.' All you see is runways and makeup and sequins and hair spray. You have no idea what you're signing."

The long-term contract that most artists are asked to sign requires them to deliver at least seven albums. Considering that companies typically insist on a two-year gap between album releases, the standard deal usually commits an artist to a label for at least 14 years--the span of most music careers.

Henley, Love and other artists intend to lobby Congress members to pass legislation making California's "seven-year" statute, under which entertainers cannot be tied to any company for more than seven years, a federal law. The California statute was instituted 50 years ago after a legal battle by film star Olivia de Havilland to free actors from long-term studio deals but has never been tested in the music business. The law would, in essence, introduce free agency into the music business.

To avoid testing the law, record companies have typically rewritten the contracts of disgruntled stars, offering concessions. Earlier showdowns about the statute--including cases by Henley and Tom Petty--were averted when the artists were persuaded to settle out of court for multimillion-dollar advances.

Tom Petty, one of the first stars to tangle with the industry during his late-1970s legal battle with MCA Records, supports expanding the seven-year statute nationwide and endorses the concept of forming a recording artist trade group or union. He cautions, however, that implementing the plan will be not be easy.

"It's really hard to get artists to do anything together for the collective good," Petty said. "When I was out there fighting my battle, it was very lonely. . . .

"The fact is once you decide to try to set a precedent, you're no longer just fighting the company that hired you. You're fighting all of them. This kind of thing could end up costing some very powerful people a whole bunch of money. And these aren't the kind of guys who just roll over. . . . They keep an entire legal team on staff and attorneys on retainer just to scare folks like us off. . . . It's going to be a long, hard fight ahead."

Karaoke Sparks Deadly Barroom Brawl

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (Reuters) : A raunchy karaoke performance at a saloon in east-central Florida sparked a barroom brawl in which one person was
fatally stabbed and another was injured, police said Thursday.

The dispute began when a patron at the Smokehouse Saloon in Merritt Island
performed an obscene karaoke version of a Guns 'N' Roses song, "Welcome to
the Jungle," Brevard County sheriff's agents said. "He was substituting some vulgar language and some people got upset,"
Sheriff's Agent Lucille Ross said.

Several patrons, the karaoke operator, the bar owner and the bar owner's
girlfriend objected and asked the singer and his group of friends to move along.

The singers' friends exchanged harsh words with the complaining group
and a melee erupted and spilled out into the parking lot. "Everybody got into it and it ended up in a big brawl," Ross said.

Two men who were with the karaoke singer were stabbed. One of them,
19-year-old Kevin Arthur Nowak, was killed and the other remained in a
hospital with stab wounds to the stomach. A suspect, Rene Echevarria, 43, was arrested on murder and aggravated assault charges. During a bond hearing he denied stabbing anyone, but was ordered held without bail.

Canadian Counterfeit Karaoke Disks Seized

WATERLOO, ON - June 9, 2001

A private investigation agency, King-Reed & Associates, seized about $250,000 worth of pirated karaoke discs, counterfeiting materials and computer equipment in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge last night.

The raids, part of an ongoing North American investigation into counterfeiting optical media products, represent the largest seizure to date. King-Reed was hired by U.S.-based Karaoke Anti-Piracy Agency (KAPA) of Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of its efforts to enforce the intellectual property rights of its member companies.

Acting under the authority of a civil court order, local private investigators raided two homes in Kitchener and Cambridge where the pirated discs were produced. One karaoke bar was entered and 5 disc jockeys were stopped as they showed up at karaoke bars.

Barry Logan, the lead investigator said, "about 85 per cent of the discs used by jockeys approached were counterfeit." K.A.P.A. launched its North American wide initiative to crack down on profiteering from counterfeiting as copyright violations result in the loss of significant revenue for computer discs with graphics (CDG) manufacturers and distributors. K.A.P.A.'s Canadian and US manufacturers represent approximately 90% per cent of all authorized sales. While discs normally retail for around $50, pirated versions can be purchased for as little as $5-$15.

The companies investigated were found to be using primarily counterfeit discs in their operations, with collections ranging from 50 to over 2,000 discs. Logan stated that, "Although it is often viewed as a 'victimless' crime, the counterfeiting of CDGs causes an economic loss to the rightful copyright holder." The North American CDG industry is valued at about $150 million in annual sales.

Counterfeiting affects the financial position and economic stability of manufacturing companies and is a serious business crime. KAPA intends to vigorously pursue civil and criminal cases against anyone found to be utilizing for profit counterfeit discs.

King-Reed & Associates, a private investigation agency providing a full range of services, has an established client base throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. King-Reed & Associates are founding partners in Investigations Canada, a network of highly reputable investigation firms coast-to-coast.

Vicar puts Karaoke Machine in Church to Help Singing

Nottinghamshire, England - May 24, 2001

A Nottinghamshire church has had a karaoke machine installed to improve hymn singing.

The Rev Brian Duckworth's congregation failed to hit the right notes after their organist moved away. They were dealt another blow when a worshipper who brought a guitar along to accompany the singing left as well.

Worshippers at St John the Evangelist's Church in Hucknall then raised £2,850 to buy the karaoke machine, which plays 2,400 hymns.

Mr Duckworth said: "Our services were getting very dull. We have a strong musical tradition here at St John's and hymns are a vital part of our worship. But I'm afraid singing unaccompanied just wasn't the same."

He can control the karaoke machine from his pulpit and even take it with him for outside services, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Stephen Langford, assistant secretary of the Southwell diocese, which approved the vicar's music-making idea, said: "This machine is making its mark on St John's in a way the original organ probably did 100 years ago."

Worshippers have been similarly enthusiastic. Helen Overton said: "The services just didn't flow without music."

Karaoke Taxi Keeps Passengers Amused

Bolton, England - May 9, 2001

Bolton taxi driver has fitted a karaoke machine in the back seat of his cab. Kevan Jackson says the idea started off as a joke, but now his customers can't get enough. Passengers can choose from more than 200 songs. The words appear on a mini television screen.

Mr Jackson, 28, said: "It doesn't put me off driving because, let's face it, they'd probably be singing anyway after a few pints in the pub. "There's been some really good ones who can really sing ... but the awful ones are usually the best."

ne passenger, Janette Ainsworth, told the Manchester Evening News: "It's certainly the best cab I've been in. It's a great way to get in the mood for a night out or finish off the night on the way home."

 

SunnComm Lands $1 Million Karaoke Deal

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 8, 2001--SunnComm Inc. (OTC:SUNX)

President Peter H. Jacobs said, "Today, we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for a four-year agreement with Sound Choice Accompaniment Tracks -- the largest producer of Karaoke CD music in America.

"SunnComm will provide Sound Choice with its proprietary Digital Content Cloaking Technology known as MediaCloQ(TM). This revenue agreement will include a minimum total of 2 million copies of Sound Choice's Karaoke CDs.

"The deal, when complete, is expected to generate in excess of $1 million for SunnComm Inc. This agreement represents the understanding between the parties and shall be replaced with a formal, definitive agreement within 30 days."

Sound Choice is the largest provider of Karaoke CD music in the United States and delivers popular selections to enthusiasts across all demographic segments.

Derek Slep, president and chief executive officer of Sound Choice stated, "Our industry has been tortured with piracy and unauthorized duplication of content. Sound Choice again takes a leadership position in pioneering the digital protection of karaoke music in America.

"We feel this is money well-spent. Using SunnComm's revolutionary technology gives us the protection we need against all the CD copy programs on the market today. We look forward to a long relationship with SunnComm as a flexible and competent partner in the protection of the digital rights of artists and music producers worldwide."

SunnComm Inc. is a leader in digital content security with its MediaCloQ(TM) product lines, and has commercially released the country's first "cloaked" Audio CD -- Charley Pride's "A Tribute to Jim Reeves" which is available at retailers throughout the country.

Raids Net Counterfeit Karaoke Discs Valued at $250,000

OTTAWA, Canada -

The war against counterfeit karaoke discs has spread north of the U.S. border with a weekend raid on eight southern Ontario locations in search of pirated discs worth up to $250,000.

The raids came after a four-month investigation by King-Reed & Associates Ltd., a private investigator working on behalf of the North Carolina-based Karaoke Anti-Piracy Association, which represents about 90% of U.S. and Canadian karaoke music manufacturers.

About 30 peace officers, investigators and police acted on a civil court order allowing them to seize computer hard drives, CD writers, blank CDs, and all items associated with the possession, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit compact discs with graphics (CDGs).

The CDGs contain the music and the lyrics used in commercial karaoke businesses.

It is the first raid of its kind in Canada. Two similar raids were conducted in Detroit in April and May on KAPA's behalf.

"This client wants to make it known they will vigorously investigate any infringement of their rights and they will litigate," said Barry Logan, manager of the corporate crime section at King-Reed & Associates.

The order covered 15 named individuals, businesses and small entertainment companies in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph area.

"Several of the businesses investigated have employees and thus generate a decent income while avoiding the retail cost associated with the purchase of an original CDG -- and I suspect, avoid paying taxes on an undeclared income," said Mr. Logan.

Local police participated in a "limited capacity" in the raids last night because it was a civil action, he said.

"Our client could have gone the criminal route, there are laws they could use to convict the counterfeiters. But it's a little heavy-handed to have somebody sent to jail for having a bad karaoke disc," he said.

King-Reed, which specializes in intellectual property investigations, was hired to follow up a tip to KAPA about illegal karaoke discs being used in the area.

"We investigated that tip about an end user of the product. From there, we were able to identify other end users and distributors of the counterfeit karaoke discs. So we implemented undercover means and infiltrated distribution channels and identified the manufacturers of the discs," said Mr. Logan, who led the investigation.

He did not, however, have to actually sing any karaoke. "Thank God it didn't go that far," he said.

King-Reed is now conducting other investigations on behalf of KAPA to crack counterfeit karaoke rings in other Canadian cities, Mr. Logan said.

"Canada is just a hot spot of karaoke counterfeiting, I'll tell you."

Jill Vardy, Financial Post
jvardy@nationalpost.com

Jeff Healey Opens Toronto Club - Offers Karaoke Nights

National Post - Jeff Healey was nervous before opening the doors of his new club on Bathurst Street last night.

"I'll just be really relieved when I start hearing the music, the applause, the crowd and the cash register," said Mr. Healey, best known as the blind virtuoso who plays the guitar on his lap. "I just hope people show up."

Just to make sure, Mr. Healey has lined up well-known musicians, many of whom are his long-time friends, to perform over the next three months.

There is a definite buzz about the place, called Healey's of course, among anyone who knows anything about music in Toronto.

In addition, his business partners, Phil Morrison and Stuart McKendrick, founded the successful Bohemian Cafe.

"I'm still nervous," said the man who has sold five million albums. "Excited, yet nervous. This means a great deal to me. It's one of the more important things I have done over the last few years."

This is why Healey's official opening is not until next week. Last night was the "soft opening" to work out any glitches, such as sound or staff problems. For years Mr. Healey had been thinking about opening a comfortable nightclub that would feature live music. The plan for Healey's is to have country, folk and bluegrass on Tuesdays, karaoke on Wednesdays and jazz and swing on Thursdays. Anything goes -- providing Mr. Healey approves it -- on Fridays and Saturdays.

"I'll even have alternative [music], whatever that means, if a musician shows up and is good," he said. "Healey's will be the place for a variety of good quality entertainers."

Even the karaoke?

"A lot of very good singers who haven't landed in a band yet get discovered at karaoke," he explained, a little defensively.

And although Mr. Healey has been rounding up friends, such as guitarist Jenny Whiteley and singer Sue Foley, he hopes to give emerging talent "a little push" too.

Many music fans will show up simply because of the new bar's namesake. Mr. Healey plans to be at his watering hole most of the time. He says he won't likely perform much by himself but will sit in with other musicians.

"It will give me a chance to hear a lot of talent and play with a lot of different people," he said, adding he hopes young musicians will hang out and get advice from seasoned veterans. "I'm never going to stop loving to play. But it's not important to me to be in the spotlight. I don't need constant pats on the back."

Mr. Healey, who released his latest album, Get Me Some, last year, was a young prodigy. He had his own CBC show when he was 14 years old.

The Jeff Healey Band's big break came in 1988 when the scriptwriter for a new Patrick Swayze film, Road House, saw the group play at a Toronto club. The band was later cast in the movie.

Albums such as Hell to Pay and See the Light established Mr. Healey as a household name in Canada, with fans around the world. Bob Dylan used to take him on tour and he has done the circuit with Bon Jovi.

So is the club business a whole new career?

"What is a new career?" he asked in his raspy voice. "Every day is a new day and I'm constantly thinking of new things I'd like to do, stuff I haven't got off the ground.

Ottawa Firm Wows the Web Innovators honoured by industry awards
By GEOFF MATTHEWS
The Ottawa Sun

OTTAWA -- Local entrepreneur Alfred Jay is building a career out of perfecting the community grapevine.

Before the year is out he hopes to actually be making money at it.

Yesterday, Jay's company, Ramius Corp., was honoured by an industry group for CommunityZero.com, its Web-based service that allows users to establish and maintain private online communities.

Ramius won in the category Changing the Way People Communicate at the seventh annual Internet World/ISPCON Convention in Toronto.

It was one of two local firms to take home prizes from the event.

Eatsleepmusic.com finished first in the category Changing the Way People Play for its Internet karaoke service.

Incorporated in 1999, eatsleepmusic provides users with the tools they need to "turn any PC into a karaoke machine," said company media specialist Susannah Kilroy.

Used by Canoe
They also license their applications to other companies, including Canoe and Lycos, sell hardware and even offer singing lessons.

The company, located on Kanata's Moodie Dr., has 25 employees and an estimated million users.

CommunityZero, with 12 employees, is "trying to make the Internet easy for everyone to use," said Jay, the founder and CEO.

It seems to be working, as more than 200,000 people are now part of 20,000 communications groups making use of the service.

Associations, employee groups, hobbyists and individuals with a specific area of interest make use of the service, which is free to the end user.

Members of a discussion group can enter a chat room, post information, exchange pictures or find other ways to interact.

"They don't need any technical knowledge, and there is no cost for setting up and maintaining a system, which can be very expensive," said Jay.

His company is privately owned, functioning on just over $3 million in venture capital raised to date, and is poised to enter its revenue generating phase, he said.

"We would love to take (the company) public once it is profitable."

KAPA Crosses the Border On Karaoke Copyright Infringement


Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (June 9, 2001) - KAPA (Karaoke Anti-piracy Agency) is presently investigating Karaoke copyright infringement throughout the United States and Canada. These investigations are a result of tips received from KAPA members and members of the Karaoke community. Information regarding busts will be posted on the KAPA website, www.karaokeantipiracyagency.com.

KAPA hired King Reed and Associates, a firm that investigates commercial crimes, to followup on tips regarding the production and sale of illegal copies of Karaoke CDGs in Kitchener, Ontario. After 4 months of an undercover investigation, substantial evidence was available to support the issuing of the warrants. Simultaneous raids took place at the homes and Karaoke shows of the suspected copyright infringers. Two homes in Kitchener and Cambridge where counterfeit discs were allegedly being made were raided. As reported in The National Post, "About 30 peace officers, investigators and police acted on a civil court order allowing them to seize computer hard drives, CD writers, blank CDs and all items associated with the possession, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit compact discs with graphics (CDGs)." In addition, 6 Karaoke Show hosts were approached as they arrived for their shows and their counterfeit discs were seized. All totaled, approximately $250,000.00 worth of equipment and counterfeit discs was confiscated. This represents the largest seizure of this kind to date.

Many view this type of criminal activity as a victimless crime. However, not only is this an economic loss to the rightful copyright holder, but to others as well. The CDG Manufacturers' Dealers, who are local music stores, lose revenue. Honest Karaoke hosts lose jobs by being undercut by someone who has less of an investment in their music. Singers also lose because the manufacturers will have to cut back on new production due to lost revenue.

KAPA has filed a lawsuit against those involved in hopes of recovering some of the losses experienced by the manufacturers whose products were illegally reproduced. They will continue to pursue civil and criminal cases against anyone found to be utilizing counterfeit discs for profit.

King Reed and Associates is currently investigating other leads received by KAPA regarding illegal Karaoke counterfeiting operations in Canada and the United States. Updates on this case and others will be posted at www.karaokeantipiracyagency.com.

Karaoke Funeral for Drowned Friends

Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK

Shelley Hughes and Claire Jones were inseparable

Two friends from North Wales who drowned when they were swept out to sea during a night out have been buried side by side.
The karaoke song Shelley Hughes and Claire Jones sang together hours before they died was played at their joint funeral in Llandudno Junction.

Mother-of-two Miss Hughes, 21, was dragged into the water by a huge wave as she stood on the promenade at Colwyn Bay late last Friday.

Classroom assistant Claire Jones, 20, jumped into the sea to save her friend but their bodies were recovered by an RAF helicopter crew three hours later.

Friends gathered for the funeral

Her uncle, Dave Jones, an inspector with north Wales Police, had helped to organise the search before realising who the women were.

Two men who attempted to rescue the women were later praised by the police.

The pair, who lived opposite each other in Nant y Coed, Llandudno Junction, had been with a group of friends in Cariad's karaoke bar earlier that evening.

Their final song of the evening, Olivia Newton-John's Hopelessly Devoted to You from the film Grease, was played to mourners at St Michael and All Angel's Church in Llandudno Junction.

The Rev Terry Mart, rector of the Llangystennin parish, said before the service that the opening song would be followed by tributes from the women's close friends and two of their favourite hymns, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace and All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Tributes were laid at the spot where the girls were swept away

Their families, including Miss Hughes' partner, Darren Bond, and her two children, Danielle, five, and two-year-old Ashton, led the mourners.

Miss Hughes, who worked as a retirement home care assistant, and Miss Jones were later being buried next to each other at nearby Llanrhos cemetery.

The mothers of the two women have talked of their grief and said they wanted the funerals to be held jointly.

Margaret Hughes and Ann Owen said the ceremony would be a perfect tribute to the women who did everything together.

"They were the best of friends - they lived their lives together," said Mrs Hughes.

Tornadoes Touch Down in Denver Colorado

Thursday June 21, 2001 3:01 PM ET

DENVER (AP) - Some 1,500 travelers were stranded at Denver International Airport on Thursday after golf ball-size hail knocked nearly 40 planes out of service.

``The sound in the concourse was incredible,'' said Louanne Smith, a teacher from Maryland who slept at the airport with her son and husband after Wednesday night's storm. ``It was like thousands of drums.''

By Thursday morning, United Airlines had canceled 125 of its nearly 2,300 daily flights - a quarter of them due to the problems in Denver, one of its biggest hubs.

United spokesman Chris Brathwaite said at least 32 planes were damaged in the storm, a problem that would cause delays at other airports. Frontier Airlines reported damage to four planes.

The storm brought tornadoes to the area, then swept south, shattering windows in Watkins, about 20 miles east of Denver. Two people suffered minor injuries and 1,200 customers lost power. In some cases, hailstones punched through the metal sheathing of mobile homes.

Residents on Thursday began cleaning up the mess. Windows were blown out of all 69 dwellings at Galamb's mobile home park and Country Manor motel owner Jim Hood estimated damage to his property at $35,000.

``When the hail started hitting the roof it sounded like a war zone,'' said Melissa Pacheco, who operates a convenience store near the motel.

At the airport, Gayle Baehr of Columbus, Ohio, and her 7-year-old son Chris were on a plane that had pulled away from the gate when she saw the hail start to fall.

``They just looked like enormous golf balls, and they put these huge dents in the wing,'' she said. ``You could tell it caused a lot of damage.''

Their flight never took off. Airport workers folded blankets and stacked pillows given to passengers who slept on cots, benches and floors overnight.

Airport crews towed 33 cars with missing windshields and other hail damage to an impound lot for safety, airport spokesman Steve Snyder said. In all, more than 83 cars, police cars and maintenance vehicles were damaged.

In Kiowa, about 40 miles southeast of Denver, customers of the County Seat Saloon took shelter in the basement when the storm hit.

``It got really cold and you could see water sucked up off the street like there was a tornado,'' waitress Maryann Sidebottom said. ``We were doing karaoke and couldn't hear the siren. Someone came off the street to tell us.''

Coffin-Maker Dead Serious About Karaoke


Friday June 15, 2001 7:23 AM ET


KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian coffin-maker got his final wish when his family and friends serenaded his body with some of his favorite old Mandarin and Thai hits from the 1960s and 70s.

``He had been telling us that his passing away should be celebrated with a karaoke session and merry-making,'' Teoh Hock Tiam's brother, Hock Weng, told The Star newspaper.

``We did not take it seriously until he reminded us about it minutes before he died.''

Teoh was treated to a two-hour karaoke session before he was sent on to his cremation, the newspaper reported on Friday. Sources: Reuters | ABCNEWS.com

MTV Will Give People Star Makeovers
Monday June 11, 2001 8:55 AM ET

NEW YORK (AP) - If you're sick of yourself, MTV can help you become one of your favorite music stars - at least for a little while.

The cable music channel this week is launching a new show, ``Becoming.'' MTV will pick fans up in a limousine, give them makeovers, teach them choreography and let them recreate their favorite videos. Cameras will capture the transformation along the way, then show the finished product.

The players were chosen from casting calls, fan Web sites, karaoke bars and college campuses.

During the first week, fans will ``become'' Jennifer Lopez, Blink-182, Destiny's Child and the Backstreet Boys. The premiere shows will air at 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Thursday.

When ``Becoming'' reaches its permanent time slot, 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting July 10, fans will pretend to be Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera, Limp Bizkit, Britney Spears, Red Hot Chili Peppers and others.

Sunfly Karaoke Issues Severe Warning:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2001 12:56 PM
To: alt.music.karaoke@news2mail.com
Subject: COPYRIGHT INFO ABOUT CDG DISCS

Author: Sunfly
Email: sunfly@sunflykaraoke.com
Date / Time: 03/26/01 2:34 PM
Subject: Piracy!
Message: Public Notice Warning

Sunfly are aware of a number of people who are involved in reproducing Sunfly products. This practice is illegal and carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for anyone founding possession of these goods. Anyone involved in manufacture, distribution or purchase of these discs can face the maximum term when found guilty.

Sunfly, together with Arbiter Group Plc., take all matters of piracy very seriously. In this respect, we have joined forces with Trading Standards Authority and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS, the people who ensure that music copyrights are not stolen or abused ). This partnership, which covers the whole country, has already prosecuted many piracy operations throughout the country and is currently working on 10 separate cases as we speak.

We have already successfully prosecuted piracy operations in Devon, Manchester, Glasgow & Leeds. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison &/or very heavy fines. Sunfly & Arbiter Plc. Will also be taking out private actions, against those convicted, for damages and compensation. All equipment will be confiscated, including computers, karaoke machines, PA's, speakers, mixers etc. The penalty for even being in possession of one copied disc can carry a maximum sentence.

FACE IT - IT IS NOT WORTH IT! DO NOT JEOPARDISE YOUR LIVELIHOOD & YOUR FAMILY'S FUTURE FOR A COPIED DISC. Pirate discs are NOT LICENSED FOR Public Performance & therefore anyone using them can be arrested and face heavy fines and imprisonment. This includes the owner, tenant or landlord of the premises. It is not just you who faces time in prison, it is those you work for and live with. All the authorities, together with Sunfly, The Arbiter Group Plc and all legal Karaoke traders, are now investigating persons who, allegedly, are using or manufacturing copied discs. If you have any now, get rid of them. If you don't and you're caught you will be arrested. We will prosecute to obtain the maximum sentences.

On pirate websites they say that it is Legal to backup your discs, this isn't the case.

For any queries about this notice either Sunfly or the MCPS would be glad to give you any advice you might need. Sunfly + 44 (0) 20 8905 5555MCPS (Anti Piracy Division) + 44 (0) 20 8664 4691


This Message was forwarded by www.news2mail.com
Read the Usenet via eMail

Karaoke Site Music to Amateurs' Ears:
Ottawa firm avoids Napster trap by buying
its music from publishing companies

By Randy Ray - Friday, March 30, 2001
Special to The Globe and Mail

When John Price wants to liven up family gatherings and house parties, he fires up his laptop computer and invites his friends and relatives to gather round and belt out a song or two, karaoke-style.

He is among a growing number of wannabe singers and seasoned crooners turning family rooms, cottages, wedding ballrooms and even campgrounds into karaoke clubs, thanks to the wares of eatsleepmusic.com Corp. of Ottawa.

The company is succeeding at a time when other music sites, most notably Napster Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., have come under attack or been shut down for allowing users to download music in violation of copyright laws.

Eatsleepmusic.com, which set up its Web site in 1999, has steered clear of this problem by purchasing the rights to all music found on its site from music-publishing companies such as Universal Studios Inc., Broadcast Music Inc., Sony Corp. and AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Music, company founder Trevor McGuire says.

Each song is rerecorded by studio musicians to sound as close as possible to the original tune; owners of the music are paid a royalty of about 25 cents a song, he says.

Singing surfers who turn to the site can croon for free to music streamed into their personal computers or, for a fee, download thousands of songs or order CDs, CDGs (compact discs plus graphics), cassettes and VHS tapes.

Karaoke equipment, singing lessons, advice on staging a karaoke party and lists of karaoke venues in Canada, the United States and Britain are also available on the privately held firm's site.

The software there enables PCs, televisions and cassette players to double as karaoke machines. "It's a great way to break the ice, certainly more fun than sitting around watching television," says Mr. Price, a Toronto musician who, in the past 18 months, has purchased 300 songs from the site for his own use, as well as software, songs and a microphone for his granddaughter.

The average sale on the site is about $20, although some customers have spent up to $1,500 per visit, says George McTaggart, vice-president of marketing. About 80 per cent of revenue is earned by selling music, 10 per cent from site advertising and the rest from commissions earned when hardware, singing lessons and other products are sold on behalf of other companies, Mr. McTaggart says.

This year, Mr. McGuire forecasts, sales will reach $4-million to $5-million, about double last year's revenue. The company also expects to turn a profit by the end of May.

To get there, eatsleepmusic.com has eaten up about $10-million raised through friends, family and Canadian venture capitalists and is negotiating deals for an additional $2-million, for content, marketing and business development, Mr. McGuire says. The debt-free company expects an additional influx of capital this spring by going public through a reverse takeover, which will land it on the Canadian Venture Exchange, he says.

That eatsleepmusic.com is nearing a profit so quickly is a pleasant surprise for analysts who track the troubled dot-com sector.

"If the company can be profitable within two years of its launch, that would be fairly impressive," says Mark Quigley, director of research with The Yankee Group in Canada.

Mr. McGuire launched the company in 1996 as Vorton Technologies Inc., a developer and distributor of software products, including graphic imaging and financial tools sold through retail computer outlets.

In 1998, the company began focusing on karaoke after Mr. McGuire was introduced to Tune 1000 Corp., a company formed by a Quebec City-based group of musicians looking for a distributor for their collection of karaoke songs and software. Mr. McGuire liked what he heard, bought the company and added its wares to his software lineup.

He knew his firm had a potential hit when an analyst hired to assess the opportunity pointed out there was precious little on the Internet for music fans and businesses that spend $15-billion (U.S.) annually on karaoke music and equipment.

"We looked at the market and our core competencies and saw the opportunity to do to karaoke what MP3 has done to original music," Mr. McGuire says. "Tune 1000 gave us the music. . . . Vorton brought business savvy to the mix."

A year ago, Mr. McGuire says, the Web site received 250,000 visits a month, with about 30,000 registered users viewing an average of two pages per visit. By early this month, it was averaging 1.5 million visits, with 200,000 registered users checking out six pages per visit.

During the 12-month span, the firm's Web-based client list grew to 10,000 from about 1,000.

Eatsleepmusic.com focuses on the 100 million people worldwide it estimates participate in karaoke, and who, until the arrival of the Internet, could only purchase or rent hardware or visit bars and other venues, Mr. McTaggart says.

Also on its radar screen are millions of other music enthusiasts who want to sing along with music, and have fun doing it, at parties and weddings, or in the comfort of their own homes. More specifically, it's targeting the increasing number of multimedia computer owners whose machines are hooked to the Internet and equipped with sound cards and speakers that can play music, he says.

Feedback to the site has shown that eatsleepmusic.com's products are being used by people of all ages.

Surfers can sing along for free to about 200 songs they can click on at the site, including hits performed in the style of country, pop, rock, gospel and children's artists. If they like what they hear, they can buy those songs and others from the company's 12,000-song playlist for between $1 and $4 a tune. By purchasing songs and downloading free software, karaoke enthusiasts get better-quality sound and a handful of features, including pitch and tempo control, that enhance the experience.

Mr. McGuire says the company's key challenges are to build its music content, get new capital and draw more people to the Web site while avoiding the spending excesses that have been the downfall of other dot-coms.

Aside from new financing, it is making moves on the content side. The company has entered a strategic partnership with Sound Choice Music Accompaniment Tracks of Charlotte, N.C., a karaoke-music supplier with a catalogue of 12,000 tunes; with these and others still to come, eatsleepmusic.com hopes to double the size of its 15,000-song catalogue by next spring. It also plans to offer songs in a variety of languages, Mr. McGuire says.

The company has adopted a multipronged strategy to increase Web traffic and build brand awareness. It now has partnerships that link more than 600 Web sites to eatsleepmusic.com.

It also has negotiated agreements with about 25 original-equipment manufacturers that bundle its karaoke application and a selection of songs with hardware, such as sound cards, speakers and computers. A novel marketing device used once so far is "karaokegrams." With a partner, the company held a contest last September that encouraged enthusiasts to e-mail as many karaoke songs as possible from its site in return for the chance to win concert tickets and backstage passes. In 10 days, 80,000 e-mails were sent.

In the coming months, eatsleepmusic.com hopes to reach even more customers by adding a feature that will let singers record the songs they sing on their PCs.

 
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