LEND AN EAR

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MARKETER: Warner Bros. Music Group

WHERE TO FIND IT: www.ear1.com

CRITIQUE: The most remarkable thing about Warner Bros.' Ear1 Musicfest promotion is that it didn't happen years ago.

Warner's unified music site, Ear1, the umbrella site for the Warner Music labels, is putting on a monthlong "festival" of concert Webcasts by their artists. Sponsors like Discover Card and Cornerpost.com get to attach themselves to the event without the appearance that the bands `sold out.'

No one argues that a synergy exists between music/entertainment content and the Web. What could be more multimedia than a streaming video/audio feed of a concert coupled with artist bios, backstage photos, chat rooms and a quick and dirty e-commerce page to buy the album featured?

Other companies have done Webcasts for a while, and online CD stores have tried to assemble the content to help sell the CDs.

So why has it taken a record label so long to put it together?

Labels have better access to artists and distribution channels and the desire to make money in as many ways as possible. Labels have established partnerships with concert promoters, sponsors and radio stations, to generate some real revenue. And the Musicfest has created even more opportunities for Warner to partner with online brands like Lycos and Real Media.

Now if only Warner would make this business as usual rather than a `festival.'

WHO CREATED IT: Light Ray, Los Angeles and Traveller, Huntsville, Ala.

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