Is the industry *finally* comin round the bend? The article -- titled "Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity" details what could be considered (to put it nicely) the industry taking a wide turn. An alternate (if not more accurate) title in a more reality-based publication could be "Record Labels Think p2p is Just Another Way to Own You."
According to the WSJ, the old-school "decoy" technique, in which bad-karma'd companies like ARTISTdirect flood the p2p networks with fakes of "as many as 30 of the Billboard Top 100" to frustrate users to endlessly search for a legit copy of a song instead of hearing it once and then buying the record (not to mention, the title of the song spikes up to the top of the search charts as a result of the neverending-search-for nothing corporat practical joke). Since this is a Public Diplomacy course, let's just make a stretch and call it the carrot-stick approach.
Unfortunately, big media still thinks it has the upper hand and somehow must *fight* p2p and other "free" media-sharing, especially in light of the 2005 Grokster decision. From the WSJ article:
Before the ruling, record labels worried that they might undercut their legal arguments if they used peer-to-peer sites for their own purposes. Now, "we're basically free to exploit these billions of fake files we're putting out," says Randy Saaf, chief executive of MediaDefender.
MediaDefender is the p2p-weasling company that was bought out by ARTISTdirect last year. Somehow -- or I'm not reading it right -- the WSJ scribes are buying into MediaDefender's notion of "marketing," but frankly it's no different than me sharing a hundred fake mp3's on the old Napster and listing them as Metallica cuts.
The chart to the left, featured in the WSJ article, is from BigChampagne, the same online media measuring company that confirmed that -- in terms of "moving units" -- Danger Mouse's "Grey Album" was in a stratosphere to itself on Feb. 24, 2004, or Grey Tuesday, when we all went grey and/or hosted the Album. Today, BigChampagne has courted Nielsen and claims to be "the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online."
Jay-Z, needless to say, never had a problem with the mashup concept and lo, his fortunes have only grown. Nearly two years later, might *some* of the majors be finally getting it? Turn up that Young Dro and stay tuned . . .
(More digressive irony: The top Google results for listen to the grey album are ARTISTdirect-hosted pages.
Search via Yahoo! audio search, however, and it's all there!)