Can KaZaa & Ice-T Pioneer Paid Music?
It was often said that the combination of big-name artists
and direct link to fans via the web would spell the doom of
the traditional music industry (ie., major labels). And
while many tried, from Atomic Pop to MP3.com, all the
ingredients just weren't there. So Al Teller's venture went
by the wayside while MP3.com was added to Messiers' laundry
list of acquisitions.
Are times different today? Perhaps enough to help KaZaa &
Ice-T prove the theorem true. The first important change is
the consumer, who can take over manufacturing through
broadband-powered CD-R equipped PCs, a point reinforced by
the industry's claim that there are as many CD-Rs being
burned as CDs legitimately being bought.
As for marketing, no major label, even with their parent
companies, actually controls a critical mass of media
channels required to break an act. While AOL/TW, one of the
more 'converged' conglomerates, may have significant stakes
in the Net, TV & cable, they still need Clear Channel and
Viacom for radio & music video airplay, not to mention
Walmart to actually sell the CD. And the way they get that
access is through the perceived value of the only brand that
means anything in this industry: the artists themselves.
If anyone understands self-marketing, it's Ice-T. This
professional gangbanger has established himself in nearly
every media, from music & movies onto prime time TV. Ice-T
needs no help marketing, what he needs is a distributor/retailer.
Enter KaZaa, with over 200 million downloads of one of the
most used music application around and combined with
Altnet's embedded TopSearch technology.
All the ingredients are there: distribution, manufacturing,
marketing, retailing, But what should really have the
industry worried is the offer: Ice-T's new album
"Repossession," complete with 19 tracks as well as two
promotional downloads, is selling for just $4.99!
Good news for Ice-T fans, bad news for MusicNet & pressplay.
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