all of Madonna's complaints about people downloading her music off
the web for free, she's making something off it anyway.
Madonna, and Guy Oseary are mentioned in this article; I have highlighted
as many Madona-related names, or important names, in the article as
I could find):
one of those sunglasses-required days in Los Angeles when Eric Garland,
a leading expert on music downloading, arrived for his meeting with
a senior media company executive. Rather than talking in the company's
air-conditioned offices, the executive led Garland and his partner
through a fetid back alley to a secluded courtyard.
then did the executive ask his question: Which songs, exactly, are
the millions of Internet users illegally downloading? "I just
thought, this is crazy," recalled Garland, who had to prop his
laptop on a dumpster to give his presentation.
reason for the cloak-and-dagger theatrics: While the music industry
publicly flays Kazaa and other file-swapping services for aiding piracy,
those same services provide an excellent view of what's really popular
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 convince radio stations and MTV to give new songs a spin or
boost airplay for those that are popular with downloaders.
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
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
used BigChampagne's 100-city breakdown of popularly downloaded songs
to convince radio stations to start playing a new band, Story of the
Year, during prime daytime listening hours instead of at night.
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.
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.
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.
Bros. used data from songs pirated off the Internet to form a strategy
to promote Headstrong, the new single from Trapt.
definitely don't like to spin it that piracy is OK because we get
to look at the data. It's too bad that people are stealing so much
music," said Welt. "That said, we would
be very foolish if we didn't look and pay attention to what's going
not an isolated example. Garland said Warner Bros. followed a similar
promotional strategy with Headstrong, the new single from the Los
Gatos rock band Trapt. Indeed, nearly all the labels work with BigChampagne
on a project or subscription basis, he said.
promoters at the major labels have gone a step further, using advertising
agencies or other intermediaries to place ads on popular file-swapping
networks to promote new acts.
the music industry effectively shut down AudioGalaxy in 2002, the
labels would pay the file-swapping service to sponsor search terms
to direct fans looking to download songs from, say, Radiohead, to
an emerging band with a similar style.
promote it to you right there," said AudioGalaxy founder Michael
Merhej, whose account was confirmed by two independent sources. "The
link took you to a third-party Web site done by the label, but you
couldn't tell it was done by the label. This went on for a long time."
feeling is there's a promotional value to exposure," said Artemis
Records chairman Danny Goldberg, an influential industry player who
previously headed Mercury Records, now part of giant Universal Music.
"Give something away for free, and hope they fall in love."