Editor's Note

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As the music industry starts to regain some ballast after being tossed around like a helpless buoy in a perfect storm, our 2nd annual music issue couldn't have come at a more opportune time (please look for related coverage in the music marketing Special Report in this week's print edition of Advertising Age, July 12).

Nielsen SoundScan recently reported a 7% spike in U.S. recorded music sales for the first half of 2004 compared to the same period last year. This rebound can be attributed in some part to the expanding and deepening of relationships between Mad Ave and the music industry. And with the growing legitimization of the online legal downloading space, opportunities abound for further collaboration.

The two sides must tread carefully and keep their resolve and their nerve in not entering into shotgun deals spurred by the easy check to underwrite a tour or fund a TV commercial. As Radiate Group's Steve Groth, who made his bones as a concert promoter, is wont to say, "there are a lot of muddled messages" out there because the two sides didn't do their due diligence.

But at the end of the day, even the most strategically sound partnership is rendered pointless and costly if, as Columbia Records’ Charlie Walk is quick to point out, the music ain't any good.

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