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"There are myriad issues; some very simple ones, some legal ones, and some philosophical ones that will have to be looked at."
——Jim Donio, NARM Acting President

NARM & VSDA EYE MERGER

Retail Groups Consider Cohabitating, Possible Marriage
Talk about your shotgun weddings.

The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) and the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) have announced that they have entered into negotiations "to see if it makes sense" for the two trade organizations "to explore a merger or other mutually beneficial business or strategic relationship."

According to a statement released yesterday, the two associations cite that although NARM’s focus is music and VSDA’s video, the digital and Internet advances have increased the number of issues in common to members of both organizations. Other matters of mutual interest include piracy, copyright law, First Amendment protections, theft prevention, formats, packaging and labeling, emerging business models, digital delivery and they both taste great with marinara sauce and some oregano. A formal letter of intent is apparently being finalized and both conventions scheduled for this summer will proceed as planned.

NARM Acting Prexy Jim Donio took our call when we offered him a free Sports Illustrated subscription and a football phone to tell us the timeline for the possible co-venture: "It’s quite an undertaking. It’s not something that’s going to be entered into on either side. There are myriad issues; some very simple ones, some legal ones, and some philosophical ones that will have to be looked at. And they will all be looked at."

Have the full boards of each association’s met together yet? Said Donio: "There have been committees and staff involvement. There have been ad hoc committees of both organizations that have gotten the process started and made recommendations to the board. But the boards have so far met separately. There’s a joint steering committee that’s in the process of being formed right now."

And although Donio tells us that there are currently no plans to address this new matter at the upcoming conventions, he is adamant that the upcoming NARM confab of August 21-24 and VSDA’s convention convening July 14-16 will not be affected. "They will proceed unimpeded," insists Donio, "Nothing will be changing at either convention. Including the fact you guys are not welcome at either."

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