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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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Copyfight

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March 31, 2004

Record Labels Using "Pirate" Data to sell more CDs

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Posted by Jason Schultz

The Merc has a great article on how the RIAA bashes P2P out of one side of their mouth while secretly using data from the networks to boost sales of their CDs. Check out this tasty bit:

Record-label executives discreetly use Garland's research firm, BigChampagne, and other services to track which songs are traded online and help pick which new singles to release. They increasingly use such file-sharing data to persuade radio stations and MTV to give new songs a spin or boost airplay for those that are popular with downloaders.

Some labels even monitor what people do with their music after they download it to better structure deals with licensed downloading services. The ultimate goal is what it always has been in the record business: Sell more music.

``I know of a case where an artist had obviously gone with the wrong single, and everyone loved this other song they had on their record,'' said Guy Oseary, Madonna's business partner and head of her label, Maverick Records. ``In the world of what we do, it's always good to have real information from real fans.''

Maverick used BigChampagne's 100-city breakdown of popularly downloaded songs to persuade radio stations to start playing a new band, Story of the Year, during prime daytime listening hours instead of at night.

The online data revealed that despite Story of the Year's lunar rotation, its single ``Until the Day I Die'' ranked among the top 20 most popular downloads, alongside tracks from Blink-182, Audioslave and Hoobastank that received significantly more airplay. And when the band performed in a city, ``we didn't necessarily see the phones blowing up at radio, but we saw download requests for the song skyrocket as they went through,'' said Jeremy Welt, Maverick's head of new media.

Armed with this data, Maverick fought for more airtime at radio, which translated into more CD sales. Story of the Year's album, ``Page Avenue,'' just went gold, selling more than half a million copies....

Folks keep asking why more artists aren't breaking into the mainstream through P2P. I think this may provide some answers -- they are; the record labels are just taking all the credit.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies


COMMENTS

1. Giles Hoover on March 31, 2004 9:25 PM writes...

Wired reported on this, too -- back in October:

"BigChampagne is Watching You. In fact, they're tracking every download and selling the data to the music industry. How one company is turning file-sharing networks into the world's biggest focus group."

Permalink to Comment

2. K. Matthew Dames on April 2, 2004 5:50 PM writes...

Maverick Records also has a history of planting dummy tracks on P2P networks as a way to protect/spur record company sales; they did so with a Madonna album released last year.

See http://www.sntreport.com/archives/000082.html

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