Thursday, September 05, 2002

COULD CONNIE BE THE NEW JOHN PEEL?: The New York Times went to watch Ludacris recording a rude-word free version of a song for AOL subscribers, and came back reporting that it had seen the future, and is sort of convinced that it works. Basically, AOL creates exclusive content, helps to break bands, makes money by flogging tshirts and stuff; everyone's happy, it seems. Almost.
A lingering question is whether AOL will unfairly favor Warner over other labels. Mr. Conroy says that he will typically try new programs first with Warner because it is easier to get started, but will then open them to its rivals. Yet of the nine acts featured so far this year in AOL's artists of the month program — its most prominent promotional position — four are from Warner labels, double its share of the music market.
"We get more than our fair share of the slots," said Paul Vidich, executive vice president of Warner Music.
- without a trace of shame. Now, while you can understand AOL wanting to make good use of the stuff it got in the merger it lied to make, its hardly filling us here full of joy at the prospects for the future if the AOL-tied audience are going to be offered a policy skewed in favour of Warners artists. Even if they let in their other chums from RIAA, the upshot is going to be - as usual - independent artists being squeezed out. And people who don't have it in them to get an ISP that's better than AOL aren't likely to go seeking out music elsewhere, either...

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