It is the dissembling, half-truths and unalloyed lies that will kill the music industry: payola, accounting practices, mischaracterization of their sales slump, etc. Here’s a new one according to Fortune:
- If you think record companies want nothing to do with Napster clones such as Morpheus and Kazaa–or with the listeners who download free music off the web–well, you’re wrong. With help from BigChampagne, a market research startup that tracks file-sharing sites, record labels have found a silver lining in music theft.
BigChampagne, with offices in Atlanta and L.A., can gather a slew of raw customer feedback by hanging out on the highways that make up peer-to-peer networks. Record labels then buy that data to learn whether, say, Eminem or Faith Hill is hotter this week, which single off Ja Rule’s album might be the next runaway hit, or whether a little-known artist is more popular than predicted. BigChampagne, which is already profitable, can also break down the information geographically and demographically.
While it’s an open secret in the music industry that most of the major labels use BigChampagne–some spending millions a year–none will fess up (at least not on the record). “The prevailing attitude at the labels is an ostrich mentality when it comes to downloading,” explains David Adelson, executive editor of Hits Magazine. “BigChampagne supplies a nonpartisan vision of what the downloading community is doing. It’s incredibly valuable information, whether you believe they are your friends or your enemies.”
There sure are a lot of “open secrets” within the record biz – why, exactly, is that okay?
BigChampagne is an interesting outfit – they describe themselves thusly:
- BigChampagne is the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online. Our focus is on the world’s most popular “download” communities, file sharing networks. These are the download “sites” (actually networks) first made famous by Napster and now including clients like Limewire, Bearshare, KaZaA, Morpheus, and hundreds of others.
BigChampagne was founded in 2000 as a technology-driven market research and marketing consulting firm, specializing in peer-to-peer (P2P) technology. The “TopSwaps” chart services were introduced early in 2002.
Here is their current top 10:
- Jennifer Lopez Jenny From the Block
Eminem 8 Mile
Eminem Cleanin Out My Closet
Nelly Air Force Ones
Madonna Die Another Day
Avril Lavigne Sk8er Boi
Shania Twain I’m Gonna Getcha Good
Justin Timberlake Cry Me A River
Eminem Lose Yourself
Sum 41 Still Waiting
Here they describe file sharing:
- Since the rise and fall of Napster, file sharing has moved into the mainstream. At present, tens of millions of consumers access one or more of these networks each month.
P2P is an amazingly successful “idea virus,” a concept but also an architecture for distributed computing. P2P networks are now incorporated in industry, banking, and entertainment.
BigChampagne’s commitment is to develop measurement technologies and marketing strategies for these new networks, recognizing the extraordinary opportunity that P2P architecture offers all content creators in improving distribution, customer profiling and true permission-based marketing.