So some piracy is okay, as long as we control the distribution: playing both sides against the middle much? According to the NY Times:
- The bass was thumping at Spa, a club in lower Manhattan when Baby Paul Ambroise swaggered through the doors at 1 a.m. on Wednesday. He quickly eyed his targets — a montage of stylishly clad downtown clubbers — as he made his way upstairs to the closet-size D.J. booth.
Mr. Ambroise greeted Supa D.J. (Peter Parker) and slid him a CD, the latest unreleased single by the popular female hip-hop group, 3LW, "Neva Get Enuf."
About 20 minutes later, the single was rocking the house. Slowly, a tall man in baggy jeans, a black 'do rag (a mesh scarf tied around the head) and a baseball cap worn backward, sidled onto the glimmering dance floor and bounced feverishly to the beat while monitoring his two-way pager. This was Big Rudy (Rudy Chery). His dancing may have been sincere, but it had another motive: to create excitement inside the club about 3LW's single, to be released on Oct. 22.
Mr. Ambroise, 27, and Mr. Chery, 22, are members of a street team unit, and full-time employees, of Epic Records, a Sony Music label. Their job is to persuade D.J.'s at trendy clubs like Spa to play new singles and generate a buzz on the streets. This way, when the music hits the radio and the store shelves, their young listeners already "know the hook" — the chorus of the song.
It is not easy selling CD's these days. World sales declined 5 percent last year. Music executives blame Internet piracy, and the growing media clutter that makes marketing far trickier. The situation is making street-teams like Mr. Ambroise and Mr. Chery — and their contacts with buzz-generators like local D.J.'s — more essential than ever, though such tactics have been around for more than a decade. The key is marketing that does not look like marketing to reach young customers who are turned off by the corporate taint of traditional advertising.
Mr. Ambroise has honed his sales pitch about his own importance.
"You can't take the record and just put it out anymore," he said. "You have to come to us, and we have to break the record for you in the streets. If you just advertise it and there has been no work behind it, no one is going to buy it. Just because I read on a billboard that so-and-so's album is coming out, I'm like, 'I don't care,' especially if I don't know you. That's what I do. I educate the consumer about the music."....
Sounds like marketing under false pretenses to me.