Don’t the people at Live Nation surf the web? You have to ask, have they done their homework? To leave the sale of tickets to Live Nation events to the over 20,000 + Burnlounge affiliates is a sure bet to dilute your brand, cause confusion in the marketplace and leave the sale of pricey concert tickets to the less than business savvy. Then again, I guess the folks at Live Nation must have read Wired editor, Chris Anderson’s recent book, “The Long Tail.” They figure, better to let 20,000 kids try and sell a pair of tickets to their friends, then have us actually do our jobs and do it ourselves.
I tell my girlfriend all the time, “let’s not speculate,” but I’m going to have go out on the proverbial limb here, because it only makes sense right? Sorry, babe, I’ve gone to the dark side. Time to speculate.
So, let’s think about this for a minute. The folks at Live Nation are probably saying, “Who’s closer to the bands than these kids with delusional and zealous devotion to this Burnlounge service? They’ve spent $200 or $400 plus a monthly fee to buy into something that they can’t advertise anywhere, and that they can’t really make a whole lotta money from, unless they are at the top of the freakin PYRAMID! Who cares if half these kids have no business experience? Who cares if half these Burloungers don’t really care about selling downloads or concert tickets, when their bread and butter is selling Burnlounge stores to other suckers?”
What Live Nation has done is to potentially tarnish its growing brand and reputation when the grand Burnlounge experiment goes under, leaving thousands of kids in the lurch, with no tix to an event. To incentivize Burnloungers to go out and sell tickets to their friends for these shows, Live Nation is going to give special VIP access to shows to Burnloungers and they’ll get a live data feed from Live Nation as to ticket availability and show schedules, among other insider items.
Sorry, can’t I get that on Ticketmaster.com? Why would I care to buy $325 Madonna tix from the DJ at the club? What happens if they don’t show up? Who do I call? The DJ or Burnlounge or Live Nation? I’d rather call a trusted source, like Ticketmaster or the venue than a Burnlounger I ran into by chance at a local bar, restaurant or bowling alley.
Folks, truth be told, I’m just still not a fan of Burnlounge. I’m just not convinced that the Burnlounge model is the best model. I’ve been flamed over and over again in forums and on blogs by Burnloungers who swear this service is the second coming of the record industry. They have taken to use prophetic language on some newsgroups, bulletin boards and email marketing messages to let the world know Burnloungers will rise above the negativity of the music business, with the help of course of special super powers and spirit-like sensibilities, to show the world the power of the Burnlounge mystique and take over with Howard Dean-esh fervor.
Here is an example from Gordon Finlayson’s post on Burnlounge at DigitalMusic.Weblogsinc.com:
We Will Succeed By Attracting To Ourself The Forces We Wish To Use, And The Cooperation Of Other People. We Will Eliminate Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Selfishness, And Cynicism, By Developing Love For All Humanity, Because We Know That A Negative Attitude Toward Others Can NEVER Bring Us Success. We Will Cause Others To Believe In Us, Because We Will Believe In Them, And In Ourself. We Will Start Today. – Kris
Give me a break!
My complaints about Burnlounge continue to be:
2. The use of MLM marketing techniques to create a pyramid-like structure where the people at the top make money from all the Burnloungers underneath them without having to lift a finger. The Mogul program, where I can become a mogul if I pay “X” to Burnlounge, then I get a commission on sign-up fees of affiliates I bring in plus a piece of their sales keeps anyone below the second or third (at best) tier from making any real money, as they have to split their profits upstream. I strongly believe that anyone who opens a Burnlounge store should play on an even playing field than the next guy. Everyone should share equally in the profits on sales of digital music, not one guy (or girl) reaping the benefits of tens of Burnloungers underneath him (or her) that are only paying up to the mogul by association, and not by distributor/retailer relationship.
3. As far as I know, in their MLM rah-rah get togethers, they continually fail to accurately describe what the profit split is on Burnlounge sales. It wasn’t until a few months after the meeting I went to and after my original posting about Burnlounge, that I finally came across some blog postings describing the revenue model for Burnlounge affiliates. What they don’t tell you is that after the labels, Loudeye (their distributor), themselves and the mogul who signed you up, you’re really only looking at pennies per track sold for major and indy label product that isn’t your own. When I asked about the revenue model, I was told to call the marketing director, which I did, and he never called me back. Correction: Independent artists who upload and sell their own tracks in their Burnlounge stores get, I’ve heard, about 60 cents per track. I’m not sure what the actual number is, but it’s fair to say that’s the ballpark number I’ve heard tossed around.
4. The fact that many Burnloungers who have never run a business in their lives continue to call Burnlounge a “franchise” opportunity, which is completely false. Burnlounge is not franchising anything, you are basically buying a book of DVD’s on the how to of running a Burnlounge store. You’re given access to the technology and the same tracks everyone else has in their stores, and then left to your own devices with little in the way of integrated marketing support to help you spread your message. At times, Burnlounge affiliate memebers can be cult-like, to the point where I just hit “delete.” Burnlounge is not a franchise. If it were, you’d be assigned a territory all your own and another Burnlounger could not infringe on that territory. You would receive marketing support in the form of advertising across all media, and you split the profits with the parent who supplies you equally with everyone else in your market. Therefore, you are insured that you can compete on a level playing field with the guy down a mile down the road. With Burnlounge, you may run into ten people in one nightclub and everyone is vying for one customer. 9 out of the 10 lose out if the customer chooses 1 Burnlounger. You don’t have a terriotory folks…it’s every man or woman for him/herself. And, what would you rather do, try to sell the customer a Burnlounge franchise where you can make more money on the set up fee, or get them to purchase music, which is pennies? If you averaged it out, Burnloungers probably spend more time trying to sign up other Burnloungers than they do selling actual music. The dilution of the marketing message and the confusion this causes to the customer is going to be very problematic for Burnlounge.
Some accuse me of posting about Burnlounge to get traffic to my web site. That’s funny! I don’t have to post to about Burnlounge to get traffic here. I’ve been a respected member of the dance music industry for over 20-years and have developed a strong and knowledgeable reputation in the music industry. I don’t need Burnlounge to help me do anything that I can’t do myself. Netmix was here long before Burnlounge, and I strongly believe, will be here long after. Mainly, because it’s just lil’ol me and no one else. I invest in it myself and I have no one to report but myself…lol.
Just on my first post alone, I’ve seen hundreds of entries in my referrer logs looking for real, qualified information on Burnlounge. From people (vultures?) who want to get in on some stock play to disappointed Burnloungers who got out of the game or just those looking for general, thruthful information about Burnlounge; there are many people seeking real, solid information on Burnlounge. One would think you can go to their web site for that information. You know…to get the truth. Yeah, the truth. That’s right. T-R-U-T-H…that spells truth. Is the truth just saying “Macintosh Operating System” or can you go one step further and say, iPod?
On one blog, a Burnlounger has even started to spread a rumor that Apple will create some sort of plug-in for Burnlounge files. HA! Now why would Apple do that and drive people away from the iTunes store and iPod? That makes absolutely no sense and is just plain ridiculousness. See, this is what you get from Burnloungers, half-baked truths and rumors. A bunch of kids running around with little supervision and spreading wildfire about a service that can’t control the message.
Why I posted originally is because I wanted people to see what I saw and not have a colored version from just hearing the pitch, with no one to put it into context. I wanted to put out information to give a potential Burnlounger the downside, not just the upside that they tell you in the meetings.
I had never planned on posting about Burnlounge until I went to their rah-rah meeting at Coffee Shop in New York City last Spring, and saw for myself first hand how misleading and disingenuous the company was with their super-slick marketing message sans any real substance or facts. I posted my first article because I was hoping to save many of my friends who were there the time and money they might waste becoming a Burnlounge retailer and participating in the download revolution.
In fact, the final thing that bothers me most about Burnlounge is there is no 1-800 number for customer service. Everything is done by email. How do they expect to solve the problems of 20,000 affiliate retailers by email alone? To me, that’s a joke. But maybe the number isn’t on the web site, I don’t know? Hire a call center in Bangalore! Do something to give better customer service!
Call me crazy (okay…so I’m crazy!), but, to me, Burnlounge is jut not the place I want to be, and its my right to state my professional and editorial opinion, which is, don’t waste your money unless you’re planning on investing time and energy for pennies in return.