Annual convention set for Aug. 2-5.

The National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers has revealed the nominees for its merchandisers of the year awards. The winners will be unveiled on the last night of the NARM annual convention, Aug. 2-5 in Kissimmee, Fla.

This year's nominees includes a digital download store--iTunes--for the first time. The Cupertino, Calif.-based online merchant has been named as a nominee in the medium-sized division. In another first, a video distributor is a nominee in the large distributor category—Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the large retailer division, the nominees are:, Seattle, Wash.; Best Buy in Richfield, Minn.; Borders Group, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Hastings Entertainment, Amarillo, Texas; Target Stores, Inc., Minneapolis; Tower Records in West Sacramento, Calif.; and Trans World Entertainment, Albany, N.Y. For the last two years, Tower won the category.

In the medium retail division, the nominees are: Dimple Records, Sacramento, Calif.; Fred Meyer Stores, Portland; iTunes Music Store, Cupertino, Calif.; J&R Music World in New York; Music Millennium, in Portland, Ore; Newbury Comics, in Brighton, Mass.; and Waterloo Records & Video, Austin, Texas. The latter merchant holds the crown from last year.

For the small store division, Criminal Records, in Atlanta, Ga.; Ear X-Tacy, Louisville, Ky.; Easy Street, Seattle; Electric Fetus, Minneapolis; Twist & Shout, Denver. The latter merchant is the favorite as that store has won the award for this division for the past five years.

In the wholesale sector, the nominees for the large division are: Alliance One Stop Group, in Coral Springs, Fla.; Anderson Merchandisers, in Amarillo, Texas; and Handleman Company in Troy, Mich. Last year, AEC stopped Handleman’s four year in a row win streak when it scooped up the award for that category.

For the medium division, the nominees are Arrow Distributing Co. in Streetsboro, Ohio; Baker & Taylor in Charlotte, N.C.; Eurpac Home Entertainment, Virginia Beach, Va.; Galaxy Music Distributors, Pittsburgh; and Super D/Phantom, Irvine, Calif. Baker & Taylor won the award last year.

In the small wholesale division, the nominees are Electric Fetus Co., in Minneapolis; Distribution Video & Audio, in Burbank, Calif.; Liaison Records, in Laurel, Md; Roadrunner CDs, DVDs & Video, in Stoughton, Mass. Electric Fetus is the reigning champion in this sector as it has won the award six years in a row.

Moving over to product suppliers, the large-size distributor nominees are EMI Music Marketing, in Hollywood; Paramount Home Entertainment, Los Angeles; Sony BMG Music Entertainment, New York; Universal Music Group Distribution, Universal City, Calif.; and WEA, New York. Last year, EMI won the award.

In the medium-size distributor category, the nominees are Alternative Distribution Alliance in New York; Fontana, Universal City, Calif.; Koch Entertainment Dist., Port Washington, N.Y.; Navarre Entertainment Media, New Hope, Minn.; RED, New York; Select-O-Hits, Memphis, Tenn.; and Ryko Distribution, New York. Last year, RED scooped up the award.

In the small-sized distributor category, the nominees are Big Daddy Music Distribution, Kenilworth, N.J.; Burnside Distribution Corp., Portland; Lumberjack Distribution, Toledo, Ohio; and Redeye Distribution, Haw River, N.C.. Redeye has won that division three-years running.

In the label category, the nominees are Interscope/Geffen/A&M Records, in Santa Monica, Calif.; The Island Def Jam Music Group, New York; Rhino Entertainment, Burbank, Calif.; Universal/Motown Records Group, New York; and Warner Bros. Records, Burbank, Calif. Rhino picked up the award last year.

In the medium-sized category, the contenders are: ABKCO Music & Records, Atralwerks Records; Koch Records, Roadrunner Records, and the Verve Music Group, all in New York; Victory Records, Chicago; Concord Records in Beverly Hills, Calif.; Welk Music Group, in Santa Monica, Calif. and Shout Factory in Los Angeles. Verve scored the top honor last year.

For the small label suppliers, the nominees are Hopeless Records, Van Nuys, Calif.; New West Records, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Oh Boy/Blue Plate Music/Red Pajamas, Nashville, Tenn.; Putumayo World Music, New York; and Sub Pop Records, Seattle. Last year’s winner, Ryko, isn’t a contender this year.

In the category of suppliers of related product and services the finalists are, Almighty Institute of Music Retail, Studio City, Calif.; Billboard Information Group, New York; Buy Music Here, Eugene, Oregon; Gary Group, Santa Monica, Calfi.; Muze, New York; The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y.; and Nielsen Soundscan, White Plains, N.Y.