TrueAnthem Next Nail In Music Label Coffins

Widget brings songs and e-commerce to fans

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Widgets, advertising, and a couple of prominent music acts listed among the early participants in TrueAnthem’s efforts show us why the music world doesn’t end at the labels’ doorsteps.

We’ve all heard of Internet phenomenons who crossover to the mainstream, like the Arctic Monkeys and their roots in MySpace. That was one of the early shots in the battle over who should control an artist’s livelihood and a fan’s interest in music.

Personally we’re rooting for the musicians, but it doesn’t look pretty. Not that the world of performing live ever did, with loading heavy equipment in and out of clubs, drinks spilled dangerously close to valuable equipment, and the occasional club owner who tries to hold back a little (or a lot) of the agreed-upon fee (always get it in writing.)

The real revenue came from selling tapes/CDs and other merchandise, usually the all-purpose band t-shirt. That’s not going to change; performing and physical items represent the revenue a band pulls in to survive, even with a label contract.

With those two items being the way to make money, how much does a publicly-owned, shareholder-driven music label do in developing artists beyond one hit? Stakeholders will not wait for a second album, let alone a third, from an artist. It’s up to the musicians themselves to move on from the labels.

Which brings us to trueAnthem. Simple concept – here’s a widget, here’s a place on the widget where an advertiser can hitch a ride with an artist along to all the places the fans might drop the widget.

The site also built in a little e-commerce into the widget. Hootie & the Blowfish and Nine Inch Nails both have places in the list of artists using trueAnthem. Hootie offers a way to purchase entire live performances in MP3 format from the widget.

TrueAnthem said fans can buy individual songs, or listen or download one for free; the free ones lead off with an 8-second ad spot by the band mentioning the track’s sponsor.

It’s an intriguing concept, promotion and monetization all within one widget. Adidas recently signed on in support of Ultraviolet Sound, and we will be interested in seeing who else opts to try the widget route while building a music career.

TrueAnthem Next Nail In Music Label Coffins
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  • Sean

    Few things kill the careers of artists as quickly as ‘selling out’ and associating with companies and advertisement that make them suck far more than poor musicianship or songwriting does in the eyes of fans. Especially with the whole ‘true fan’ concept and artists seeking to explore the long tail.

    It’s a good idea, but only time will tell if it is a benefit or just another good idea that ended up producing bad results. Even those artists supposedly out front on the bleeding edge and leading the way to some supposed other business model can only jump about from one paradigm to another and from sponsor to sponsor so many times before even the most diehard fan begins to view them as just more sell-outs out to make as much money as they can.

    There are some good possibilities looming on the horizon, however. In any case, it’s a neat widget and concept. But man, I hate hearing ‘monetize’ and ‘monetizing.’ I think I’m going to puke if I hear that lame,  passe web 2.0 buzzword one more time.

    I mean really, did something change so that a business model that has a component (or its entirety) based upon advertising revenue suddenly became an anachronism? Monetizing sounds like street slang for the lack of proper conduct of business. "Yo, yo, yo…check it. How you can make mad money." That’s the most irritating thing about reading Web Pro News.

    No need for business plans, marketing plans, media plans. Just slather as much crap advertising and widgets as you can fit on your website and Twitter your rear off…

    But, I digress…

  • http://www.mister-wong.com/user/boots100/ L.W. From Mister Wong

    With the advancements in social media and information technology,   this probably should have come as no surprise.  The music industry has held on to a monopolistic lock for decades.  

    I think it’s time to give the freedom and creativity to the artists, maybe for the first time.  Let the listeners decide what they want to hear.  No need to control everyone’s minds. 

    With smart planning, the big music companies can always find artists who feel like they need the companies’ support.  However, let the die-hards loose so they can test the waters on their own…

  • Joyce F

    I see this as the missing-link in moving away from the dinosaur age of major labels. 

    The artist on his/her own, MUST start walking upright, without the aid of 50 business-people wearing ties. Those days are over. The ties have been fired and the listeners are raiding the stores…  we’ve got to get money to the artists somehow, or else the art suffers…. not being able to make music is a more damaging scenario than a simple 5 second ad. Edit the dang thing out if it bothers you that much.

    Plus, You see ads all day on tv, why aren’t you disappointed with the integrity of Seinfeld’s art?



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