Music Pirates as Market Researchers

Here is Clear Channel using data on music downloading to sell to to radio stations to build up their listener base so that they can charge more for advertisers.

Mcbride, Sarah. 2007. “Pirated Music Helps Radio Develop Playlists.” Wall Street Journal (12 July): p. B 1.

“Earlier this year, Clear Channel Communications Inc.’s Premiere Radio Networks unit began marketing data on the most popular downloads from illegal file-sharing networks to help radio stations shape their playlists. The theory is that the songs attracting the most downloads online will also win the most listeners on the radio, helping stations sell more advertising. In turn, the service may even help the record labels, because radio airplay is still the biggest factor influencing record sales. Premiere’s Mediabase market-research unit is working on the venture with the file-sharing research service BigChampagne LLC. BigChampagne collects the data while a Premiere sales force of about 10 people pitches the information to radio companies and stations. Premiere declined to disclose how much it charges.”

“Joe Fleischer, BigChampagne’s vice president for sales and marketing, adds that the legality of grabbing music is a separate issue from the insight into peoples’ taste the downloads offer.”

“Mediabase has cut deals with stations at sister company Clear Channel Radio, as well as group-wide deals with Radio One Inc. and Emmis. According to BigChampagne’s Mr. Fleischer, the partnership has already surpassed its target of signing up 100 radio stations this year.”

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