The Hollywood Reporter
April 27, 1999

Added April 29, 1999

Heather sent me an article that appeared at the Hollywood Reporter web site on April 27, 1999 about the Tori and Alanis tour.

Morrisette, Amos make new Net tracks for tour

Previously unreleased tracks from Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos will be offered via the Internet in conjunction with a promotion of their summer tour sponsored by controversial digital music provider and retailer Best Buy.

In addition, Best Buy may do Webcasts from various stops on the nationwide tour and allow fans to watch the event at Best Buy sites.

The greatly anticipated 5 1/2 Weeks tour and its unique promotional deal was officially unveiled Tuesday at a news conference in Los Angeles attended by founder Michael Robertson and president and chief operating officer Robin Richards; partners Scott Welch and Charles Roven of Atlas/Third Rail, Morissette's management company; Amos' manager Arthur Spivak; Best Buy senior vp merchandising Gary Arnold; and CAA's Rob Light.

With this deal, Morissette and Amos are taking a leap that some see as a defining moment in music history, with distribution of music online more than ever shaking up the traditional five major music companies

This deal represents the first time that major recording artists, major labels, a major retailer and have joined forces.

"What I"m hoping more than anything here is that it's going to let other artists, other managers and record companies know that this is comething they shouldn''t fear," Welch said. "There's opportunity here, and our business needs a shot of opportunity."

A live version of a Morissette song, yet to be chosen, will be made available to fans in a streaming formant, not in a digital downloadable format as was being bandied about. Another live track from Amos will be offered in similar fashion.

Sources said MP3 would have preferred a digital downloading agreement with Morissette, but the Warner Music Group's corporate policy -- the "30-second rule"-- prohibits artists from placing online song samples that exceed that legth. Streaming content allows the participant to view and listen but not save to a hard drive.

Atlas/Third Rail, which sources said is expected to get an equity stake in MP3 in exchange for this sponsorship agreement, will tie its artists into various cross-promotions with MP3, including streaming and digital downloading on an artist-to-artist and deal-to-deal basis, sources said.

Fans will be able to log onto a special Internet site to access both the Morisette and Amos songs in their entirety. The available tracks will not be on the site, but on a non-proprietary site. A link to the site can also be accessed via Mavericks Internet site, The still-to-be-launced site will include concert Webcasts, interviews, chats and tour photos. It's undecided at this point whether Morissette's cut will be a live track or a B-side. Amos' song will be an unreleased track, possibly taken from the double CD (featuring one live disc and one studio disc) she plans to release in the fall.

The songs will be streamed in one of more formats that will be compatible with most major players already installed on the user's computer, but not downloadable to a portable device. Best Buy will actively promote Morissette and Amos music nationwide with particular emphasis on cities visited by the tour.

The site will contain online retail links to Best Buy and to, an online retail store opereated by Warner Music Group and Sony Music.

"For quite some time, Maverick has been actively exploring new and unique ways to market our artists using online technologies in a manner that is not inconsistent with ostrong commitment to maintaining the value of the intellectual property," said Ronnie Dashev, co-partner and cheif operating officer of Maveric Recording Co.

The Morrisette-Amos tour kicks off Aug. 18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with the first of 26 shows in indoor and outdoor arenas.

Said Morissette: "Maverick, and I approached this with an open mind, which is what I believe is required whenever there is a shift or an evolution in technology or otherwise. I am happy to have the opportunity to connect directly with people who listen to my music, and I am excited about the unlimited possibilities the Internet has to offer the artistic community."

Best Buy's participation as sponsor is groundbreaking in that traditional retail outlets have not embraced the online distribution and retail of recorded music and have publicly scrutinized such techniques as MP3 and others.

Noticeably absent from the news conference were representatives from the five major record groups, which have largely shunned MP3 and other digital formats -- even blocking certain artists from using the format -- saying its lack of copyright protection encourageds Internet piracy and poses a threat to copyrights and reveune streams.

Label sources said there would have been even more concern had the deal involved digital downloading, thereby allowing the user free access to the song and the capability to copy it and bypass copyright protection.

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