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THE RIGHT STUFF
SELLS ITS SOUL ONLINE
EMI Reissue Subsid Sells R&B And Other
Catalog As Streams, Custom Discs
Capitol/EMI’s reissue imprint The Right Stuff has emerged online as rightstuff.com, a Web destination permitting soul music fans to stream classic tracks and albums by Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, The Whispers, Bobby Womack and many other artists in Liquid Audio, Macromedia Flash MP3 or Real G2. Users can then purchase pre-recorded CDs from Amazon.com or burn their favorite tracks to custom discs via Liquid’s e-commerce engine.

Sound familiar? It’s not far from the business model of MusicMaker.com, with whom EMI partnered to offer downloadable tracks and custom CDs last year.

Only after MusicMaker’s splashy IPO was it revealed that EMI’s involvement was non-exclusive; shareholders subsequently filed a class-action suit alleging EMI and MusicMaker had colluded to inflate the stock’s value by misrepresenting EMI’s intended involvement. EMI’s limited involvement with the site was doubtless a contributing factor in the decline of its stock.

The venture’s IPO, it has further been charged, helped EMI present a rosier financial picture as it attempted to find corporate suitors.

A recent statement from MusicMaker’s lawyer declined to comment on the specific charges.

Observers wonder if the Right Stuff venture—with a new digital partner—will color perception of EMI’s intentions.

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