Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Music industry fills library shelves

By Cliff Radel
Enquirer staff writer

What weighs 3,500 pounds and sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" 456 times?

A collection of 14,556 compact discs - including 456 copies of Whitney Houston warbling the national anthem - given to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The gift came from part of a nationwide $142.7 million settlement of price-fixing charges leveled against the recording industry.

Of the settlement, $67 million went to consumers.

Schools and libraries received 5.5 million CDs worth $75.7 million. Ohio is just receiving its goodie bags of CDs. Libraries in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties got their CDs in June.

The public library's 14,556 CDs are heavy on greatest hits, best-of collections and Christmas recordings.

Being bulked up on bargain bin material pleased Bob Hudzik, manager of the library's films and recordings department.

"I was all ready to be cynical when I saw those Whitney Houston discs," he said.

"But looking at the entire list, I'm happy. We can use at least half of the CDs. Best-of and Christmas recordings are popular. People want a particular song from a particular year, for a birthday or a wedding."

Hudzik noted that many of the recordings on the list "are new to our collection." That includes Houston's "Banner."

His department has gone from zero to 456 copies - nearly 11 for every branch in the library system.

"We don't have the shelf space for that many," Hudzik said. The extras will be sold at fund-raisers.

Hits you want to hear

Here are the top 10 compact discs (by copies) received by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County as part of a $142.7 million settlement:

1. Whitney Houston, "The Star-Spangled Banner," 456 copies.

2. Eddie Santiago, Celebacion Epic Duets, 162.

3. Rebecca St. James, Christmas, 161.

4. Various artists, Billboard Top Hits: 1994, 142.

5. Otis Redding, I've Been Loving You Too Long, 134.

6. Various artists, Billboard Top Hits: 1993, 133.

7. Various artists, Billboard Top Hits: 1995, 123.

8. Various artists, Billboard Top Hits: 1992, 111.

9. La Mafia, Momentos, 101.

10. Wilson Pickett, In the Midnight Hour, 100.


E-mail cradel@enquirer.com

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