News on Garth Brooks, Carly Simon, Napster

GarthGarth Brooks' appearance Saturday at fundraiser in Fort Worth, Texas, reportedly helped raise more than $2 million for a local hospital. Brooks performed with pals Steve Wariner, Stephanie Davis and Dan Roberts, who had organized the $1,000-a-seat Refuse to Lose event to raise money for the Cook Children's Medical Center to purchase a brain-mapping machine.

After a brief intermission, Brooks returned and performed solo, covering tunes by Merle Haggard, George Jones, Cat Stevens and Bob Seger. Ultimately, "the curtain rose to reveal his full band [and] they tore into 'Callin' Baton Rouge,'" according to KSCS APD/MD Chris Huff, who attended the show. "It was electrifying and vintage Garth." Two-hour set included surprise guest Trisha Yearwood, who Brooks accompanied as she performed "Walkaway Joe."

Brooks walked away from performing and recording in 2000, promising to remain out of the spotlight until his youngest daughter, now 8, turns 18.


-- Ken Tucker, Billboard Radio Monitor







CarlyFour new Carly Simon recordings appear on "The Best of Pooh & Heffalumps, Too," a collection of songs related to the Disney character Winnie the Pooh. Released today (Feb. 8) via Walt Disney Records, the 15-track set includes Simon's contributions to the new film, "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" and favorites from past features.

The new tracks find Simon joined by characters from "Pooh's Heffalump Movie," from "Little Mr. Roo" with Kanga, to "The Horribly Hazardous Heffalumps!" with Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet and Roo. She also performs "Shoulder to Shoulder" and "In the Name of the Hundred Acre Wood/What Do You Do?" with the Heffalump Chorus.

The compilation also includes Simon's remake of the "Winnie the Pooh" theme song with her son, Ben Taylor, which appeared on the 2003 soundtrack to "Piglet's Big Movie," and that album's "With a Few Good Friends," which boasts Ben and sister Sally.

"Pooh's Heffalump Movie," which introduces a new character to the Hundred Acre Wood gang in Lumpy, was last weekend's No. 5 movie, grossing $5.8 million.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







NapsterHackers are claiming that they have discovered a way to strip the digital rights management technology off music from Napster's new portable subscription service, Napster To Go.

Users of the Winamp digital music jukebox have been reporting on peer-to-peer advocacy sites like boycott-riaa.com that they can remove the DRM from Napster To Go subscription files and burn the tracks to CDs by installing plug-in software called "Output Stacker."

Napster To Go utilizes Microsoft's new Janus technology, a Windows Media Audio solution that is designed to allow for secure transfer of subscription content to portable devices. The service allows subscribers to transfer an unlimited number of songs from the Napster library of 1 million tracks to a Janus-compatible device for a monthly fee of $14.95.

A Napster spokesperson says the company is aware of the issue and stresses that the technique hackers are employing does not represent an infiltration of its DRM.

The hackers are using software that copies music from the sound card of a computer as the music is being sent through the speakers -- a method most commonly used in recording Internet radio and other online audio streams. However, it can be used to capture virtually any audio.


-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.