Biz Offers Aid As Damages, Cancellations Mount In U.S.

The music industry yesterday (Sept. 12) moved to aid survivors of Tuesday's terrorist bombings in New York and Washington, D.C. Charitable contributions have begun rolling in, among them, a $2 million

The music industry yesterday (Sept. 12) moved to aid survivors of Tuesday's terrorist bombings in New York and Washington, D.C. Charitable contributions have begun rolling in, among them, a $2 million donation by Bertelsmann to a fund for the families of those lost in the World Trade Center disaster. "Our answer to terrorism can only lie in solidarity and the courage of our convictions," says chairman/CEO Thomas Middelhoff.

Vivendi Universal is expected shortly to announce a "significant contribution," according to Anita Larson, VP of corporate communications. "We have been reaching out to city officials and community leaders to determine where the need is greatest at this time."

Sony Music Entertainment is also expected to contribute a "significant" donation, according to a spokesman. Sony sent a memo to all employees asking them to observe scheduled "moments of silence" at its offices worldwide.

Two retail music outlets -- a Borders Books & Music store and a Sam Goody location -- were destroyed in the collapse of the New York towers. Borders director of public relations Ann Binkley says its outlet, at No. 5 World Trade Center, was manned by about 30 of its 110-person sales force early Tuesday morning. "As soon as the first explosion occurred, all customers and employees were evacuated," Binkley says. "All employees there at the time are safe, and no one was hurt. It was an absolute blessing that everyone got out."

The Sam Goody location in the Trade Center shopping-center concourse was "a total loss," according to a spokeswoman, "but all of our employees are safe and accounted for." Four employees were safely evacuated; there were no customers in the store when the first airliner hit the tower. Independent retailer J&R Music World on nearby Park Row was reportedly heavily damaged.

Some major labels remained shuttered in New York yesterday. The Sony spokesman says the company's Manhattan offices were closed; in a message to employees, Sony Corp. of America chairman/CEO Howard Stringer said the firm's New York facilities would be open today.

Virgin Records co-president Ray Cooper in L.A. says EMI's New York offices were closed and that matters will continue to be assessed on a day-to-day basis. Warner Bros. and BMG in New York also were closed.

Some labels did open their doors in New York: An Elektra spokesman says the company was operating with a skeleton staff yesterday, and a Universal Music Group spokesman says his office was up and running, although employees were given the option to stay home.

NARM's Jim Donio says the trade group will not reschedule its Fall Conference, which was to start yesterday. The 111th convention of the Audio Engineering Society, scheduled to run Sept. 21-24 at New York's Javits Center, has been postponed until Nov. 30-Dec. 3. The second annual Americana Music Association Conference, which was scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Nashville, was also postponed.

Cancellations of music events continued, and New York was hardest hit. At the Beacon Theatre, a Wednesday show featuring Lil' Romeo with Dreamstreet was cancelled. Promoter Metropolitan Entertainment also nixed a Friday show by Nanci Griffith at the Beacon, and the fate of a Sunday-Monday stand by Incubus had not been determined at deadline.

Officials at House of Blues Concerts are still deciding whether to go forward with U.S. and Canadian shows. "Some of the decisions will be out of our hands because they involve acts traveling from different locations," says VPof marketing Jack Gannon.

Other U.S. postponements or cancellations last night included Powerman 5000 in Chicago; Stevie Nicks in Rochester, N.Y.; the Guess Who in Pittsburgh; and Tool in Dayton, Ohio.

About 200 industry people were stranded in Calgary, Alberta, after attending the Canadian Country Music Awards on Monday. Carolyn Dawn Johnson, who won five major awards, told Billboard Bulletin from Calgary, "I am so, so disheartened. Obviously, I was ecstatic with my wins last night, but watching TV this morning and seeing what is happening in New York, everything else seems so mundane."

Britney Spears arrived yesterday in Sydney on a flight from New York, one of the last aircraft allowed to leave the U.S. prior to the closure of all airports. She was there to promote her new Jive album, due in November; however, she cancelled a media conference set for today, saying it was "inappropriate."