By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Is piracy affecting your business?
It affects my business, but it doesn't affect my business too much. Because the people who come to my store want the original stuff. And since what I sell is catalogue, catalogue doesn't get bootlegged.
Explain that, will you?
Catalogue music is old product. People don't burn old product. The people who buy CDs are people 30 and up. Let's say, 40 and [up] years old. And they want the original, with the original cover. They want the liner notes. They want to see who played bass or played the guitar or played trumpet on that track.
Do you have vinyl?
No vinyl. Just CDs. No used CDs.
No cassettes. And no VHS. Only DVDs.
It definitely sounds unique.
Oh, you gotta see it. Seeing is believing. But I need a little help, man.
You're taking on the big chains.
Let me tell you something: I've got $532,000 in investment in that store, in inventory.
This is a monster.
Are you in the black yet?
But heading that way?
Yeah. Of course. Because it's a concept. This warehouse is my building, it's my property.
Are you doing anything else, like real estate?
No. This is it, buddy.
What were you doing before?
Distribution. Music distributor. It's called HL Distributors. It's my distributing company.
And you're doing Cuban music from the island?
From everywhere. Cuban, Colombian, Argentinean, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Mexican product. Buddy, everything. I bring in from Puerto Rico. I import directly from Cuba.
Iran? You know, any Middle Eastern ...
I do have some Youssou N'Dour. One or two. I do carry world music.
No, no. We're not, we're not, that exotic. C'mon.
I'm just thinking of stuff I've heard in the clubs recently.
You're good. I like that. That's what I want. I have some Arabic, but on the world side I'm a little lost. I carry everything, but I don't know exactly what I have.
The Bad TouchThe arms race for school security is on. Since this past April, visitors to the Miami-Dade County school district's main administrative building at NE Second Avenue and Fourteenth Street have been required to go through new and improved Orwellian processing in order to attempt to call upon the bureaucrats within. Instead of merely signing a log and obtaining a hall pass, visitors now have to submit driver's licenses for scanning by a machine resembling an espresso maker. The machine snaps an unflattering portrait and spits out a sticky tag with a bar code, name, and picture for the visitor to apply to her clothes. The Bitch grumpily submitted herself to this process recently, but then she wondered: What in this building is worth stealing or biting anyway?
Two companies, Texas-based Raptor Technologies and West Palm Beach's SISCO Corp., loaned their respective wares to the district in the hope that visiting school principals and other administrators would fall in love with the sleek omniscience of the machines. There's sex in the pitch, as in keeping offenders away from children. Turns out while Mr. Coffee scans IDs, it also checks personal information against a database of undesirables, such as those convicted of molestation-type crimes.
In April, Raptor persuaded three schools (American High, Hialeah Miami Lakes High, and Lawton Chiles Middle) to purchase the software, which runs about $1500, not counting annual upgrades. These schools can then see whether parents, contractors, or any other strays are registered sex offenders in any of the 43 states currently in the database. If a match is made, a warning pops up and a text message is transmitted to school officials. Carol Measom, Raptor's marketing director, says the system is in more than 600 schools in Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Arizona. Measom rattles off a list of chilling statistics collected in Texas, showing that most sex offenders visiting schools are also parents, and 73 percent of the offenders have committed a crime involving underage victims.
But the field of "visitor management," as SISCO Corp.'s bubbly director of sales Jonathan Fox calls it, is competitive. "The school market is hot," he says. Thus SISCO, which has for years sold screening systems to the cruise-line industry, offered to install its product at school district HQ free, for a limited time only. This caused Raptor to take its system out, Measom says, so the SISCO guys couldn't eyeball it too closely (the three schools still have the system).
The SISCO system, which goes by the brand name Fast-Pass, was designed with other security considerations in mind. Cruise lines, for instance, aren't generally noted for their hyper-vigilance in policing potential sexual-assault perpetrators. After 9/11, Fast-Pass and other SISCO technologies received a huge boost. They've been installed everywhere from NYPD offices in New York to area hospitals to the building that houses the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fox says even the Miami Herald is looking into getting the system. His contact there suggested he talk to the school police, which is how Fast-Pass came to public education. The company is also wooing the Broward County school district, which is considering spending $2.7 million to place units in all of its schools.