Monday, November 10, 2003

Inevitable Entry

Here is the first, and probably not the last, entry on the whole debacle that is the music industry.

Today’s Wall Street Journal had a story in it about the ad campaigns from online music sites we are all being subject to thanks to people like Apple’s itunes and Napster. You know the commercials with the silhouettes dancing to Jet while listening to their ipod? And who can ignore that cute little cat in headphones break-dancing? These commercials are probably the most entertaining pieces of advertising since The Gap starting making everyone want to take swing lessons. It’s reported that Napster spent 20 million on their ad campaign. One can guess how much Apple spent. If anyone else wants to compete, and you know they will (RealNetworks, eMusic, Rhapsody), they better get ready to open their wallets. But is there enough out there in possible returns to warrant such extravagant spending?

It seems that everyone is after a 1.4 billion chunk of change that online music will bring in as part of the music industry’s 12.8 billion worth of sales in a year. For you math wiz’s, that is 11% of the pie. It’s projected by people smarter than you and I that this percentage will increase to 33% by the year 2008. So yes, 20 million on an animated cat is worth it.

But enough number crunching.

We all know the entertainment industry likes to show off, so what would any music-company launch be without its kick-off party? Napster had its own little kick-off here in Hollywood at the House of Blues two weeks back with Ludacris, Interpol, Dashboard Confessional and newbie’s Metric (pick up this album NOW) performing. Random line-up, eh? Leave to that crazy Napster. Again this was an open bar, free food event courtesy of the cat. I, being slow by nature, didn’t realize it was open bar until I was about to leave and decided to just have one before I go. Note to self: next time read the entire invite. The crowd, being purely made up of industry people, was of course the most blasé when it came to actually watching the bands. Metric rule. I adore Interpol, who are finally showcasing some new songs. AFI went up to greet Interpol in their dressing room after their set. Men in black unite! And Paul Banks (singer of Interpol) made a point of cutting an interview with Napster short because he “had to see Dashboard Confessional.” After that I got so bored by the whole thing, I left during Dashboard’s performance. The biggest star sighting I had was Alyssa Milano, and she was rude to my friends. I guess she thinks she’s the Boss. Sean Fanning (creator of Napster) was there as well, who still looks like he belongs drinking warm Busch beer out of red plastic cups at a frat party. Props to him for keeping it real. Otherwise, the party was a flop. Money not well spent. I know I should have stayed for Ludacris, but the idea of a predominately white industry crowd watching Ludacris made me want to go home to my Netflix.