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Amazon Launches Digital Music Store

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle, Amazon.com Inc. launched its much-anticipated digital-music store Tuesday with nearly 2.3 million songs, none of them protected against copying, according to the Associated Press.

The store, Amazon MP3, lets shoppers buy and download individual songs or entire albums. The tracks can be copied to multiple computers, burned onto CDs and played on most types of PCs and portable devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPod and Microsoft Corp.’s Zune.

Songs cost 89? to 99? each and albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99.

Major music labels Universal Music Group and EMI Music Publishing have signed on to sell their tracks on Amazon, as have thousands of independent labels. The company said several smaller labels are selling their music without copy protection for the first time on the Amazon store, including Rounder Records and Trojan Records.

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Movie Gallery to close underperforming stores

BY CSA STAFF

DOTHAN, Ala. Movie Gallery Inc. today announced that it plans to close approximately 520 underperforming and unprofitable Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores. According to the company, the closings are part of its plan to conserve cash and reduce the company’s cost structure to address the financial and industry challenges it has been experiencing.

Joe Malugen, chairman, president and ceo of Movie Gallery, said, “Closing these stores was a difficult, but necessary decision to help protect the future of this company. These stores are being closed after evaluating a number of factors, including store profits and the terms of the leases at each location. This action will allow us to focus our resources on the approximate 4,000 stores that have a stronger operating performance and prospects for future growth.”

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Martha Stewart to design line for 1-800-FlOWERS

BY CSA STAFF

CARLE PLACE, N.Y. Martha Stewart is creating an exclusive, co-branded line for 1-800-FLOWERS. The new floral, plant and gift basket program will launch this spring and will be available exclusively at 1-800-FLOWERS.com.

 Martha Stewart stated: “I have been cultivating flowers and creating beautiful arrangements all my life. Fresh flowers and gift baskets enhance the beauty of any home and make every occasion special. I am delighted that we will collaborate with 1-800-FLOWERS.com next year to provide consumers with memorable floral gifts, plants and gift baskets that will be greatly appreciated by every recipient.”

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