Thursday, October 06, 2005


Trouble brewing in Canada, as HMV Canada pull Dylan from the shelves following Bob's decision to grant Starbucks an exclusive on his latest album. Who best to explain HMV's actions than HMV's UK spokesflume, Gennaro Castaldo? He swings into action:

'I think [HMV Canada] feel they're acting for the common good, that there's a principle at stake," says HMV's UK spokesman Gennaro Castaldo, explaining that a gentlemen's agreement between labels and retailers rules out similar deals in the UK. "If a product is brought to the market as a chart release then everyone should have the right to sell it, and it's not fair that they should be discriminated against, particuarly on behalf of a coffee retailer that has no heritage whatsoever in selling music and developing that artist's repertoire."

Yes, we know this sounds like "waaaaah, it's not fair", but surely not? Surely a company must have more to its complaint than that?

There's a certain curiosity about Castaldo getting all angry about the idea that if a product is aimed at the chart, then everyone should be allowed to sell it - does that mean the page of HMV exclusives on offer on the store's website represent an idea that is about to be phazed out? Or are exclusives only bad when they cut out HMV?

And doesn't that "gentlemen's agreement" sound cosy? "Gentlemen's agreement" is a much nicer term than "consumer-shafting cartel", don't you think?

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