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New label offers ad-supported, 'no-DRM' free online downloads

Posted on: 11/15/2007

From the Wall Street Journal: "Amid a seemingly endless slide in music sales, the industry is constantly casting about for new ways to make money from its product. The latest experiment: Give it away online, and enlist advertisers to cover costs.

"The fate of a new companyRcrd Lbl (pronounced: Record Label) — will be a test case.

"A joint venture of Downtown Records, the independent label behind Gnarls Barkley and others, and Peter Rojas, a journalist and entrepreneur who founded the respected technology blogs Gizmodo and Engadget, Rcrd Lbl is a hybrid record label and blog; its releases are to be posted on the company’s Web site for downloading, free and unrestricted by digital-rights management software that limits copying.

"The company has signed up three sponsors so far: Richard Branson’s Virgin America Inc. airline, Nikon Corp., and PPR SA’s Puma AG sneaker unit. The site will also include short articles, social-networking features and Internet radio stations

"Rcrd Lbl has signed contracts giving it the right to distribute a handful of songs from 40 to 50 bands, including some, but not all, of Downtown Records’ artists… The hot indie rock band Cold War Kids and high-profile rapper Mos Def, both signed to Downtown, will have music on the site…

"Artists with songs on Rcrd Lbl won’t get a cut of advertising associated with their music; they’ll get advances… Rcrd Lbl will divide with its artists any money that it makes from licensing their music to television shows, movies or TV commercials."

Wall Street Journal subscribers can read this entire article online here.

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