By: Michele Wilson-Morris
The next time you
download a music file from the Internet, you might be surprised at
what you hear. Companies like Digital
are beginning to use downloaded music files as the next tool in
marketing and promotions. This is a trend that will no doubt continue
as more and more labels and content providers seek ways to promote
their music and maximize revenues.
On July 10th, Los
Angeles based Digital Payloads, Inc. distributed a press release
which announced their patent-pending solution that allows content
providers to distribute free MP3 music files on the Internet. The
technology behind it is called Payloads. According to John
co-founder of Digital Payloads along with partner Jeff
a Payload "is essentially an Internet version of an interactive
CD track. As the music is playing, the user gets an interactive
experience. All of the files we use are standard MP3 files that have
interactive content imbedded into them that either the record label
or sponsor wants communicated to the listener. Since the music is
licensed, that translates into revenue for the artists and labels.
Payloads are basically a promotional track for new releases."
seems to be pretty simple, but effective. On the front end, record
labels (and sometimes sponsors) want to utilize the consumer download
as a mechanism of providing additional information about the label or
artist to increase sales. Digital Payloads helps them accomplish this
by taking the message that the labels and artists want to get across
and embedding it on the front end directly into the track. Not at the
beginning or end, but as the track plays. The end result is similar
to a DJ announcing a song or making a comment about it as it comes
on. The message plays then quickly ends and the consumer is left with
the music. The type of message being added is usually the artist's
name and the name of the record label. After all, if you're listening
to a song that you really like, what better way to entice you to
purchase it than to remind you who it is that's singing it and what
label they're on? Additionally, if you're online at the time the song
is playing, a link pops up that allows you to make the purchase
immediately. And the skin on your player will change to something
that is related to the artist and/or song - for example, the skin
might become the CD cover of the track that you're listening to.
According to the
press release issued by Digital Payloads, its technology
"provides artists and record labels with revenue and other
promotional benefits. By enabling the compensation of artists for
their intellectual property, Digital Payloads encourages free
distribution of these licensed music files via popular Internet media
exchanges such as Napster,
and others." Peter
a Digital Payloads spokesperson commented, "The explosive
phenomenon of exchanging MP3 music can now be leveraged as a vehicle
for promoting artists and labels/advertisers. Fans want free music,
and Payloads correctly address a missing element of what, up until
now, has been an unresolvable legal war. Our Payload technology and
business model successfully transitions the promotion of music, film,
and publishing content from brick ad mortar to the digital world.
Other technologies that attempt to protect revenue streams, such as
copyright protection, pay-to-play, and subscriptions to streaming
media are unwieldy, and fail to exploit the free media phenomenon as
it exists today. Internet users will bypass or hack their way past
these schemes. As long as media producers create hard media'
such as CDs, people will continue to find ways to capture and share
the files for personal use on a wide variety of players and mobile
devices. Our Payloads are a universal solution for leveraging the
free music phenomena that can be accepted by record labels, artists,
advertisers and consumers."
"We're all in
the same game of providing licensed music to fans, but Digital
Payloads is in the promotional step of the chain," stated Mr. Brewer.
technology is compatible with popular MP3 players, including WinAmp,
MusicMatch, Sonique and Windows Media Player.
In related news,
MP3.com recently announced its affiliation with AdAce,
which offers targeted advertising services to online businesses.
According to a press release issued on July 6th, MP3.com entered into
the agreement "to create new revenue possibilities for all
labels and artists. The partnership creates new advertising and
promotional opportunities for content owners who can now take
advantage of automated advertising technologies that were not readily
available, due to technological innovations."
MP3.com's Chairman and Chief Executive Promoter, "Content
owners are constantly turning to us for ways to actively promote
their music in a cost-efficient manner. And while we have never been
a content promoter, we understand the significance of making the
promotional and marketing technologies available, so that content
owners have the opportunity to make more money. That's why this
alliance with AdAce is so important. By following a few simple steps,
state-of-the-art promotional and marketing tools can be affordably
and effectively used by content owners who want to maximize their
exposure and their revenue. Whether its through the sale of CDs,
selling tickets to concerts, or debuting a new band, we believe this
technology is going to open revenue opportunities that were not
utilizing MP3.com's site to post their music will have access to the
AdAce technology, which uses banner storage, campaign reporting
statistics and automated billing. Content owners can easily advertise
by uploading their existing banners or using AdAce's Ad-O-Matic
banner creator, which is a point and click system.
marketing and promotional tools, used in conjunction with other
revenue opportunities such as subscription or Payback for Playback
solutions offer a complete suite of services designed to establish
and maintain a potentially profitable online presence," said Robertson.
So what will
consumers think about these promotional concepts? There will likely
be a variety of reactions - some won't care at all, others will be
annoyed to one degree or another and view it as an intrusion, and
still others will see it as a small price to pay for free music.
Where the percentages will fall for each of these reactions when all
and said and done will be the interesting part.