Friday, March 19, 2004

Settlement in CD lawsuit
hasn't turned off listeners

By Lauren Bishop
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Carolyn Van Buskirk is going out for a steak dinner. Day Lemming will keep her digital cable subscription going. And Ray Voegele bought more music.

Any free money is fun to spend, as we found out when we asked folks to tell us what they planned to do with the$13.86 they got for participating in a class action lawsuit against music companies and retailers that claimed they illegally conspired to set minimum prices for CDs.

About 3 million people in 40 states participated, each receiving a chunk of the $67,375,000 settlement. What they'll do with the money varies as much as their musical tastes.

Lemming, a 74-year-old Hyde Park resident, said she joined in the suit because she was "getting tired of being taken on the CDs." She says she can't live without music - mostly easy listening, light jazz, classical and Christian - but recently realized she doesn't have to pay the price.

About two months ago, she started getting digital cable, which gives her access to dozens of music channels she can listen to all day long.

Van Buskirk, a 56-year-old resident of Covington, joined the lawsuit when she saw information about it on the Internet because she "felt overcharged."

After she goes out for her steak dinner, she plans to take advantage of an offer that CD club BMG Music Service made to its customers in light of the settlement - three CDs of her choice at 75 percent off.

Anderson Township resident Voegele, 57, says he was peeved to learn that the music industry was overcharging. Still, lacking the capabilities to download music, he took his $13.86 to Media Play and bought a three-disc collection of music by late country singer Jim Reeves for $14.

"I think the losses the industry is taking due to downloading and burning are ironic," he says. "If the industry had not been gouging 10 years ago, maybe they wouldn't be burned by all the copying that's going on now."


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