maandag 10 november 2003
BigChampagne is Watching You
"In fact, they're tracking every download and selling the data to the music industry. How one company is turning file-sharing networks into the world's biggest focus group. Joe Fleischer twists restlessly in his Aeron chair and nods at the voice on the other end of the telephone. Tapping his fingers on his computer's mouse, he stares out the window of his Beverly Hills office at the new BMWs and battered Celicas inching down Wilshire Boulevard. 'Uh-huh, uh-huh,' he says. 'Got it.' Fleischer is talking to a client, an executive at one of the major labels who's working a band he's sure could go platinum, if only radio would give the group a chance. The band's first two albums earned it a fervent fan base, but to get bigger, its new single needs airplay, the all-important spark of sales. 'Give me a story I can take to radio,' the executive on the other end of the line tells him. Fleischer hangs up, turns to his computer, and clicks through an online database. On his screen, he can see in astonishing detail when, where, and what Internet users are sharing on peer-to-peer file-swapping services like Kazaa, Morpheus, and Grokster. He searches for cities where downloads of the band's single are outpacing its exposure on radio. He likes what he sees. In Atlanta, sharing of the group's new album is up more than 1,200 percent over the previous week; in Houston and New York, 300 percent. So Fleischer"