BurnLounge.com Launches Viral Marketing Effort in New York City

I was invited by a friend to New York City’s Coffee Shop Lounge, where about 150 “b” and “c-level” independent music industry executives, djs, artists, performers, songwriters and ancillary music hanger-ons from all walks of the industry gathered to listen to a pitch from New York’s most recent “Music 2.0” (an acronym describing the post-crash Internet music economy) start-up, BurnLounge.com.

The company launched a multi-level, viral marketing campaign to have designated sponsors (otherwise known as “music moguls” according to their literature) sign-up partner’s interested in hosting a downloadable music store on their own web sites using BurnLounge.com’s music download store package.

A flashy, slickly produced, techno-laden infomercial was shown mid-way through the get together on the bar’s flat-panel tv’s, giving the crowd a generic look at how one can get involved in “making money” (as one of the principals emphasized in a follow-up speech) by selling music downloads as a registered partner in BurnLounge’s affiliate program. From the video, I learned about the three distinct tiers an affiliate partner can sign-up for; the Music Fan, The Affiliate and The Music Mogul.

The first tier, Music Fan, is for the general consumer or music fan who wants to feature tracks of his/her fav artists by embedding links to specific titles from BurnLounge’s catalog on their personal web page. The more tracks sold, the more points earned for redemption on BurnLounge.com’s site for prizes distributed as products or downloads.

The second tier, the Affiliate, is a program that turns downloads into cash. Targeted to small and medium sized web sites, BurnLounge will license their technology (basically a fully-functional download store with complete backend and transaction technology) for a richer user experience. Take this package and share a percentage of your download revenues with BurnLounge.

The third tier, Music Mogul, has a chief sponsor (or “mogul”) signing up a number of other web-based partners to create their own mini-network of sites. The Music Mogul manages those relationships, benefitting by taking a commission of sales of all tracks on his/her own download store as well as a percentage of all transactions within the mini-network of sites he/she is credited with signing into the program.

I admire BurnLounge.com for coming up with a way to spread their brand and using web services to generate sales with this multi-level marketing strategy, however, there are a few kinks in the armor if anyone thinks they’re going to make millions tomorrow from music downloads.

Mom and Pop are up against a formidable array of legacy download providers who currently have a tight strangelhold on the market and benefit from preferential treatment because of their size, traffic and revenue generating capability.

Take into consideration the folowing:

Today, Reuter’s reported from MIDEM, the world’s largest music industry conference going taking place this week in Cannes, France, that with over 355 digital download stores in existence, many music industry executives are talking about the bubble bursting, afterwhich industry consolodation takesplace.

The article reported Napster is stating over $100 Million in cash reserves and 500,000 registered subscribers paying $9.95 a month. Not bad work if you can get it. One web site generates all those subscription fees! And, people said that would “never happen!” Well…it’s happening!

Real Networks claims 1.2 Million subs to its Superpass and Music store subscription service. Today, I cancelled my account because I can’t play Real files on an iPod, and frankly, I’m not interested in listening to radio content from sub-saharan Africa. I guess there are many people who need or want that kind of programming. More power to’em, I say! I love Real. I even own stock in Real, but until interoperability takes place, I’m on the sidelines for now.
The iTunes store, benefitting from Apple’s powerful marketing muscle and convergent digital lifestyle strategy, have to date sold over 500 Million downloads and almost 40 Million iPods. Remember, iPods can only play AAC and MP3 format. Sales of digital media players that play all other formats, including Sony’s A-Trac, Microsoft’s Windows Media and Real Networks Real Media lag far behind.

You cannot purchase songs from Burnlounge, unless they were in .mp3 format, to play on an iPod. It’s common knowledge that Apple will not license their proprietary AAC encoding format to other companies as they protect their idea by maintaining their market share and dominance. This single fact slices your potential download market in half or even more! No one at the event said anything about that. All they said is, “you can make money too.”
In addition, consider this:

BurnLounge.com license their tracks from LoudEye, a digital distributor. The company charges a (according to the biz dev person I spoke with on the phone two weeks ago) $100,000 upfront payment to help a client launch an online store using their technology with an additional $10,000 a month licensing fee to keep it running and have access to their music database.
The woman I spoke to broke down the commission structure for me. First, the label take is about $0.70 cents per download. Then, LoudEye takes between, I think she said, $0.12 to $0.18 cents a transaction, depending on the deal you broker with them.

So, for arguments sake, let’s say it’s $0.15 cents. BurnLounge.com takes $0.05 cents per transaction when you sign up with them. So, between the labels, LoudEye and BurnLounge.com, the total take before you see any money is a grand total of $0.90 cents. I think there’s even another split of a few cents for the publisher, or something like that, but don’t quote me on it, because I’m not exactly sure. Maybe that comes out of the label slice. I’d have to research it a bit more to be exact.
If you’re an affiliate, you have to share that $0.10 cents with your “mogul,” leaving you with 5 or 6 cents on the dollar. Now, figure in your overhead, web maintenance, employees, marketing costs, etc…

You’re making a few pennies on the dollar. You’ll have to sell hundreds of thousands of downloads to make any kind of real money. After marketing and promotion costs and other costs of doing business, it just doesn’t make fiscal sense to open a BurnLounge store. I’d rather go out and find investors and compete on a level playing field, then give BurnLounge my money and have to work ten times as hard to make ten times less than I could if I were and independent download store owner.
The BurnLounge folk say one of their partners, a Hawaain-based lawyer, made $50,000 dollars in commissions last month. His store consists of hard to find Hawaiian music, as I’ve been told. And, we don’t know what the terms of his deal are. Does he own the actual music? Is the music he’s sold considered major label music or is it niche music that only he has the rights to?

If you’re one of those 140 in the room, you’re competing with everyone else in that same room by having those same million tracks from LoudEye. The only differentiation is how you want your store to be perceived. Content on the home page can be changed to feature music that may interest your target audience, but is that the point?

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, BurnLounge.com’s start-up fee is $144.00 or so, plus a montly subscription fee of around $12. So you’ve got to sell a lot of downloads to make up that estimatged $360 for the year, before you even can think about turning a profit.

Again, I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. It can work for some people. If you’re a Music Mogul and you sign up 100 sites that are premium brands, and they use the technology effectively and market to their customers, you can stand to make that $50K a month in commissions.

It’s the slackers that will kill you. Sign 100 restaurants and lounges and hope that they upadate their music pages and promotional web sites on a timely basis. Make the sites an integrated experience with the brick and mortar operation and maybe you’ll see some traction, but when it comes to online production, it’s tedious work just like any other data entry job. Why do you think we’re outsourcing all this data entry work to India? Because American’s are too busy consuming to do that themselves.
Now remember, you’re competing against major players in the download world; Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Napster, AOL, Yahoo and maybe someday Google. You’re at a immediate disadvantage because the iPod only play AAC and MP3 formats for audio and .mpg and .mov for video.

Major label content downloaded through BurnLounge is encoded with a DRM using other formats that won’t play on an iPod. I’m sure there’s a crack somwhere, but at the end of the day, it’s all about access and portability, isn’t it?

If you’re sitting at home cracking proprietary files, that’s less time you have for the beach, running, work or doing whatever it is you love to do. There’s a reason why million’s have downloaded from the iTunes store–it’s called convenience.
Being a pioneer in the Internet music space, many of my friends from the dance music industry who were at the event asked me what I thought about the program. I told them out of the 150 or so people who showed last night, only 2 (besides the BurnLounge principals on hand) will make any real money. Everyone else will decide that it’s too hard and that no one told them they had to invest so much time, money, energy and passion into something that gave them pennies as a return on their investment.

As for Netmix, would I open open a store? Well, for me it would only be a value-add to my constantly evolving business plan to drive traffic. Kind of a loss leader, like Walmart selling DVD players for $25 and CD’s for $10.

I’m not going to start my own music store, so sure, I’d partner up with BurnLounge to see what happens. It’s a write-off for me if I don’t make my $360 back and maybe I can sell some of the tracks I feature in my mix-shows, who knows?

Do I plan on making money with it? Well, from the looks of the rev/share split, I’ll be on social security by the time I get my first real check. I mean, even though you see all these Google adsense ads on my site, not many people are clicking on them and I’m not really sure why. They’re not as relevant to my content as I’d like them to be, but it’s hard to manage that, unless advertisers came to me directly.
You’d think with about 30 to 50 visitors a day to this blog, I’d be making some money with Adsense and the Amazon program, but I’m not making anything that makes a difference…not yet anyway.

I tell people all the time. The Internet is not the holy grail. You still have to know and understand your customer, provide value and excellent service. That takes time, energy, commitment and possibly an investment of capital. It is what you put into it. I don’t post enough to get a mass audience and it’s slow going. In order to make any real money on the web, you gotta hustle. Just like everything else. Get rich quick schemes only make the ones who think of them rich, and everyone else is used for their brainpower and hard work.
Remember what they say, “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.” But then again, they also say, “if you can’t beat’em, join’em!” Take your pick!

Here’s my Google ad below…I guess I’m joining them…lol.

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214 comments

  1. Barry says:

    From the MLM side of this Tony, you don't. Not even close. It's more than just the textbook knowledge of the industry ins and outs that's in play here. If going to college is floating your boat, that's fine, but what I'm talking about has zero to do with your nights at NYU.

    And what position are you in really? Where's it getting you? 25 years, where ya at?

  2. Tony Zeoli says:

    Ha ha!

    "Don't look to Tony…"

    That's a good one.

    Don't listen to the guy who has 25-years of music industry experience, is VP of Music at a web 2.0 company and studies digital media at NYU.

    Barry wants you to listen to an insurance salesman who has no prior music industry experience and didn't research the market before he bought in.

    According to a recent Billboard Magazine article, there were just under 200 digital music services in operation this year. The BurnLounger has a lot of competition out there.

    If I didn't know what I was talking about, I wouldn't be in the position I am today.

    Tony Z.

  3. Barry says:

    So C, based on your 25 year based opinion that in your mind gives you the end-all in what's right and wrong in the music industry , I guess Rick Dees got suckered too? (You know who Rick Dees is I'm assuming.) The following quote came from the L.A. Business Journal a few weeks ago:

    Q: What else does Dees Entertainment do?
    A: Three years ago, we noticed that music downloads on the Internet amounted to $45 million or $50 million through the record companies. In 2007, $3.8 billion worth of downloads are going to happen – minimum. Alex Arnold came to me with a company that allows retails to build their won virtual Tower Records on the Internet. It gives you all the rights to the music. You can make your own play lists. It's called BurnLounge.
    We started about a year ago with 11 online retailers. Today we have close
    to 70,000 retailers. We're the second biggest investor after Alex Arnold
    and his group. (Arnold is chief executive of BurnLounge, which he founded
    with two partners in August 2005".

    My guess is that so far, he feels he made the right decision. And YOUR take is —-? (Boy oh boy I can't wait to hear this one…)…..

  4. Barry says:

    By the way, how totally not-ironic that you completely ignored the proof that I did NOT say the things you said I did by simply copy and pasting them into that post for you and all the silent others to see.

    YOU SAID that I said that ticket sales thru Burnlounge would surpass Ticketmaster, didn't you? Have you found where I supposedly said it yet?

    YOU SPECIFICALLY SAID that Burnlounge "certainly does promise profits if you invest your money into it", didn't you? Have you found the evidence of said promise yet?

    Tony, your silent, non-contributing fans are waiting for your response. So am I. C'mon, you can say it Tony, nobody will think less of you. C'mon – we're all waiting…………….

    Oh, and referring back a few posts ago regarding your fans – this message goes directly to them – YOU BUNCHA CHEAPASSES – YOU LIKE THE WORK THE GUY IS DOING HERE? YOU APPRECIATE WHAT HE'S PUTTING TOGETHER FOR YOU? DO YOU REALIZE THAT IT TAKES HIM TIME AND EFFORT AND THAT IT COSTS HIM $MONEY$ TO KEEP IT RUNNING? DO YOU PEOPLE WORK FOR FREE??? THEN WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S OK FOR HIM TO WHILE YOU BENEFIT FROM HIS EFFORTS? HOW ABOUT THROWING HIM A FEW BUCKS FROM TIME TO TIME TO SHOW HIM SOME APPRECIATION – DON'T YOU THINK IT'S SIMPLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO???

    Sorry – back on track – still awaiting the response……….

  5. Tony Zeoli says:

    I never said my opinion was the end-all for what's right or wrong in the music industry. I maintain my position on BurnLounge. Out of the 70,000 retailers Rick Dee quotes in the article, how many are actually active and what's the "churn" rate? Yes, you can say you've got 70,000 people, but how many have dropped out. When someone quotes a number, I want to see proof that those numbers are accurate and how many of those numbers are actively selling. To me, any investor in a company is, of course, going to build it up so it looks better than reality.

    Don't believe everything you read when someone cites stats that can't be proven to prop up their investment.

    And yes, I know who Rick Dees is. If he's your measure of success in the music business, that's nice, but that's not who I want to model myself after. I'd rather be Doug Morris, Steve Jobs or Clive Davis, thank you very much.

    Tony Z.

  6. Barry says:

    You're welcome regarding the $50. I wasn't gonna mention it here, but you did so what the hell. I must say I'm VERY surprised that you posted the cheapasses part. That was several days ago and I figured you were stalling on it. I actually just came here to harass you about not doint it yet but you took the frigging wind out of my sails by posting it.

    I was serious about the cheapasses thing – although I think you're entirely too uninformed about burnlounge and MLM to be able to make such negative comments about it, at the same time I don't like seeing people putting time and effort into endeavors such as this and you've got people taking advantage of it (maybe reaping the benefits of it is a better phrase) yet they won't reach into their pockets to at least help you keep it going. To me that's just not right. Maybe they know you're rich and don't need the money.

    I seriously doubt that Burnlounge hates you. You may find this hard to believe, but they're actually still signing people up in spite of you. Like it or not, your opinion of this is going to change over time. You can't say that you have exactly the same opinion of it now as compared to a couple of months ago. For example, you now know that it's actually the oppoiste of what a Ponzi scheme is.

    Version 2.0 comes out in a few weeks and it's supposed to have additional features available. I'll of course happily keep you updated. Besides, you know that you're curious.

    BTW, your zip code only has 6 Burnloungers in it – you still have time to get in…

  7. Tony Zeoli says:

    Barry:

    First, thanks for telling everyone to fund my endeavor. Very kind of you! And, thank for the $50 bucks you dropped in my PayPal account. That was really nice. Make sure you expense it against all your BurnLounge profits!

    I didn't ignore the proof. I just didn't feel like going back through all the posts, such as you did, to fact check everything. Maybe I should have, but I've been kinda busy lately.

    See, I have a lot going on. First, we were just on set for the The Game feat. Kanye West video shoot in L.A. to source the styles for StarStyle. We'll be on set for Fergie on Saturday. I got proposals out to Diddy, Mandy Moore and Joss Stone's label. Got a lot going on. Haven't had as much time as I'd like to sit and debate you.

    Yesterday, I was interviewed for an article by a reporter from Investor's Business Daily Investors.com about my experiences using LinkedIn.com. Today, an AP photographer came to my house to shoot me behind the turntables and in the bowels of Grand Central Station for the article.

    And, I just finished my semester at NYU. An "A" and an "A-" for the semester. Brings me up to 3.59 GPA.

    I also went to Boston for New Year's Eve.

    Needless to say, I wish I had the luxury of time to debate you effectively, but I just haven't.

    Yes, I did say BurnLounge "promise profits." Maybe that's a little broad. Did they promise profits at the meeting I went to? I can't say they promised, but they sure as heck made it sound like once you signed up, the money would be rolling in, without defining how it would roll in.

    So, no, they did not "promise" profits. Of course, that's a figure of speech that you can manipulate to debate me. But everyone who's ever attended a BurnLounge session knows that they show that video and make it look like a pretty good deal, without giving you a fact sheet. Maybe that's changed in the 9 months since I've been to one. I don't know, because I probably couldn't go back to one, since BurnLounge, I'm sure, hates me by now.

    Tony Z.

  8. RickDees says:

    this is Rickkkkkkkkkkkkk Deez-nutz-in-your-mouth, and i just wanted to point out that out of the 70,000 retailers under my pyramid, a vast majority of them were recruited through my personal myspace page. I consider these recruits as friends, and eventhough i do not have a "top 70,000 list on myspace, i value their friendship as well as appreciate the revenues the provide for me. As for their "splits" F*&k'em, im Rick Deeeez bitch, who cares about splits, its all about the music baby, nothin else.

    *actual poster not Rick Dees*

    in all seriousness, wouldnt you recommend to an artist, DJ, or producer to form his own BL site and use BL's brand equity and marketing/sales/strategies along with the foundation of its software to promote the artists talents? or would you consider an already established social base, like that of a myspace music profile, as a better platform of which to market and sell to its fans integrating a "paypal" or some other funds transfering system? or would it be stupid to have one and not the other, if not more and more……as in networking, through the help of MLM, to promote, share, distribute, and ultimately profit from your own music?

    if MLM is in all practicality originating, brokering, re-originating and re-brokering a single idea or product, can you really blame the originator(in this case, an artist) for spreading his/her music through the instrument that BL provides?

    i know that the downsides you preach apply to the suedo entrepeneurs and so forth, but do you forsee any negatives for up and coming artist that could use the marketing support of BL?

  9. Tony Zeoli says:

    Barry:

    I'm glad BurnLounge is signing up people. That's great. The more people they sign-up, the harder the company falls when the time comes. Yippee!

    I'm still not convinced. Your argument only takes into consideration sign-up fees. How much have you personally made in music sales since you started? Isn't that the point of BurnLounge, the product? Or, is it all based on selling others on the concept?

    And, I do know a lot about BurnLounge. As much as I've read on their web site, which is why I have a huge problem with BurnLounge. They need to change their terms of service, and then I'll at least give them credit for doing something to be honest and upfront about their program.

    To Rick Dees:

    It's great that artist's can benefit through the BurnLounge system. But my question is this: if everyone is running around selling mogul packages to each other, then what happens to the artists? They get lost in the fact that they're not being promoted effectively, or their being merchandised incorrectly against other artists who they may or may not want to be lumped in with.

    If they have their own BurnLounge store, why pay good money when they can launch their own shop through SnoCap/MySpace partnership and have only their music on their page, instead of having a BurnLounge store and having to compete with other artists? I mean, as a band, isn't the point to promote yourself and not everyone else?

    If I'm a band, I'm using CD Baby or SnoCap. There are a few other new services out there too. BurnLounge is not the be all or end all for bands to promote themselves and sell downloads. Especially since the company only supports Windows Media DRM files, and can't support MP3 or endure the wrath of the record industry.

    With SnoCap/MySpace, a band's tracks can be downloaded as MP3. That's a bigger advantage, and without having to pay an upfront fee. Web services should be free to the individual band and or artist, with a small percentage taken off the top. Why pay a sign-up fee?

    Also, BurnLounge touts an Internet Explorer-only environment. If I'm an indy band, why do I want to support Microsoft technology?

    There are so many reasons for Indy bands and artists to look elsewhere for digital distribution.

    Tony

  10. RickDees says:

    Has BurnLouge offered its services to the Nigerians yet? i think its time those charming african entrepeneurs get into a piece of this multibillion dollar action.

    I do however think its a good idea alsong as BL continues to provide a solid and adaptive infasctucture along with ongoing promotions and marketing campaigns to help support and encourage individual BL sales. It is certainly a great idea to offer their "pyramid" approach with respect to rampid business expansion, however it is ultimatley up to Johny Affiliate to make his initial investment and will also be his judgment call to take on and recriut new affiliates………..its certainly an easy idea to sell, and cheap enough for most baller-on-a-budget-fake-it-till-you-make-it's to see a potential income stream from simply selling what everybody loves; music.

    unfortunately i know very little of MLM and am only aware of its negative press. However, from my experience in the sales industry, i know that there is an unlimited pool of "suckers" that will easily grasp(not too mention relate to the products) BL's business approach and potentially spread false promises of unlimited and exponential revenue… but wait, it is "unlimited" to a certain extent, and i would speculate(only based on the amount of hype and media that BL has created) that their market share will expand, along with the other digimusic retailers, to the ceiling of what that represents current music album sales, and eventually the "convenience factor" will allow music sales to expand.

    Im still trying to grasp the "failure" factor of MLM as it pertains to the expansive world of branded digital music retailers when this is the way the music industry is heading without any real threats of a "peaking" in business followed by a void in sales stemming from the next big breakthrough…………and if BL allows itself to expand and infiltrate a market through Johny Affiliate's, than certainly they can afford to stay ontop of new trends that lie ahead in the music industry.

    i like the idea, but only becuase it recognizes a clearly evident change in the way music is purchased and offers a very versatile appraoch in the way its marketed……what better way to market music in differnet and effective ways than to have different types of people sell to those they share common interests with? shit, i guess that question would apply to any product/service and i would just be incriminating myself as a MLM supporter…..So i guess im not good for much other than speculation.

  11. Tony Zeoli says:

    Rick Dees:

    By the way, because there are so many posts about BurnLounge here, you may not have gone back through the thread and read that I'm not against the concept of BurnLounge. What I am railing against is THE WAY they've gone about developing the concept. From their flashy videos, half-truths and questionable marketing tactics to the inability of BurnLounge to control the marketing messages spread by their exuberant moguls, some of who might compare BurnLounge to the second coming of Christ if you listen to them long enough.

    When it comes to pitching BurnLounge, some of their moguls seem to be right up there with the Nigerians. There is little truth, because they don't bother to let anyone know the downside in their program.

    When it comes to reporting on the financial markets, reporters generally disclose their investments. That being said, when BurnLoungers sell others on the concept, shouldn't it be clear that it's a Windows Media only platform? Shouldn't there be a money-back policy if they don't think it's right for them after they've bought in? Shouldn't there be a central marketing department or 1-800 number for BurnLoungers who have questions or need support?

    You see, it's not BurnLounge's concept. The promotion and distribution of music is at the core of what I do everyday. I do think it's a good idea. It's the way they execute it I don't agree with.

    It's that simple.

    So, no matter what Barry writes to say that I don't understand MLM and that I have no idea what I'm talking about. He will never address the real issues, becauase he knows that if he admits there are problems with the way they've set up their business, then it's all downhill from there.

    Barry wants to prop up his investment, and that's fine. But I disagree with him on the fundamentals.

    Here's what I would have agreed to, and where I think BurnLounge made a tactical error.

    First, I would have partnered with a company to have my legions of BurnLoungers sell a low-cost, competitive player that works with the BurnLounge store. BurnLounger's customers should be able to purchase both the physical hardware and the downloads, not just the downloads. Second, I would have put in the marketing message that BurnLounge is a competing format to Apple with a competitive audio technology that allows them to social network around music, which is what the Zune is trying to be. With legions of people selling the music players on the street, maybe the idea would have taken hold. Then the music comes first because people have more incentive to fill their players, since they have them in their hands.

    There's a lot more I would have done, but for now, these points are my contribution, for whatever it's worth.

    I'd write more, but I'm tired and need to get some rest. 🙂

    Tony

  12. Barry says:

    Tony who you foolin' – you haven't been critical of the MLM side of Burnllounge? Are you kidding? You've called it a pyramid scheme, you've called it a Ponzi scheme, you've made numerous comments about the people at the top sitting on their backsides doing nothing while all us schleps at the bottom make them all their money, you've commented on all the poor people at the bottom who will never make any money because there's nobody left to recruit – what do you call that, being complimentary?

  13. Tony Zeoli says:

    Barry:

    I remain critical of the MLM side of the business, because I'm not a proponent of the way it's currently structured.

    If everyone were equal and all shared revenues with only the parent, as a franchiser would, then I'd be for it. All would be on equal ground with the main company and to me, that's fair.

    Tony

  14. Barry says:

    Then you'll never be a fan of ANYTHING that has a multi level structure in it, which like it or not it's very short-sighted on your part. MLM beats franchises in so many ways. Most people cannot afford to buy a franchise of any kind, but most people CAN afford to buy into a multi level marketing plan. Quite frankly it's easier to be successful in MLM because you're working more with the power of numbers instead of being more on your own. More sales people = more teamwork = more success. It's undeniable.

    Here's a great example of the team concept that I was just introduced to last week. I'm in a business networking group called BNI. We have about 20 people in our group. We did an exercise where we were in 3 teams. First we were to each individually make a list of the things you can do with a newspaper, practical or "impractical", in like 3 minutes. I came up with like 9. We were to then make a list with the additional ideas from the people in our groups. In my group we had like an additional 14 ideas that I hadn't thought of, which took it to 23. We then added the additional ideas of 1 other group, which took the total to like 34. Then we added the additional ideas from the 3rd group and the total came to about 47. So, 9 ideas of my own vs. 47 ideas from the entire group. THAT'S MLM Tony. MLM is a lot more of a team effort than buying a franchise. MLM is not perfect, I understand that – but it gives a helluva lot more people the ability to create a business for themselves than anything else out there.

  15. Kelly says:

    Barry ….. How do we even know you actually MADE your money back? I could easely say I made $500 Plus, I could even say my friend made $8000 …. that means crap, no proof!
    My friend joined BL and this was 3mths into the company, he invited me 4th mth into BL still very new …… means crap! He got 1 person under him …. worked his A$$ of to get a 2nd person in …. which you need to have the B side to make ANY money. His A side grew, but never got anyone on his B side. I was skeptical, becasue his friend who got him in was at the top ….yeah, he wa making $$$$$. That is why his A side grew.

    And to Tony! I agree, They do NOT tell you everything at the meetings …. ti is nothing but a celebrity hyped vip only PARTY!!! Yes, party, here in Los Angeles, it was all about networking in a group of "entertainment comunity" based atmosphere. Not once did they mention ANYTHING about the real breakdowns of the money. I had no clue, that is why I did NOT give them my 400 + … as much as my friend tried his hardest, I didn't have 400 to throw away. I went to 4 "party events" (aka into meetings) and not once did I fully understand the break down and neither did my freind. I only JUST found out on this site about the $20 a mth to keep your site. Not once did they mention that! All they kept saying … join to top and get 2 people under you and sit back and watch your $$$ grow. "oh, you don't even have to sell any downloads… just sit back and do "nothing and you can become rich.

    To me, it as all about promoting through the top celebrity's who were involved, so if they are doing it, IT'S GOTTA BE A GOOD DEAL! Bull sh!t. They were only looking ater themselfs (the big guys) They didn't care if any of "us" made any money, becasue if we all gave them 400+, they would make all the $$$$$. I never ever once got any of my concerns answered. half the time you couldn't even hear them speak, because they had so many people cramed into a hip bar with everyone drinking and chatting …. you couldn't even hear them. Sure great way to hype the BL …. get everyone drunk and talk about the celebrity status. I know way to many people that NEVER got there 2nd person to buy in, which means ZILCH! way too many people lost that 400+ and never even continued. I own a Mac Ibook …. I couldn't even get onto anyones BL site. Mac doesn't even alow it. How many people who own a mac joined only to find out they couldn't even log onto there site? After 4 meetings ….. that fact was NEVER EVER mentioned.

    Good for you Barry, if you made you $$$ back ….. how many of your freinds $$$ did you take and out of that how many actually were able to get that 2nd person to join?

    You can't say the reason it doesn't work for some is that they didn't try is why they didn't make there money back. I even busted my a$$ to get people to join. I wasn't about to put my $400+ out there if I couldn't get 2 people under me.

    Barry you "may have" made you $$ back, but I think 8 out of 10 don't. I went to 4 meetings and never got all the facts. That is what makes BL BS! They take your money without filling you in on all the rules and money facts.

    BL is VERY MISLEADING! Like Tony said "if it sounds too good to be true…than it really is! Good concept, but with no INTEGRITY to back it up! Just glad I didn't waste my $400 + dollars. Like I said, I know many people who didn't make there money back!

    Good luck to all involved!

    Barry, you are just plain ignorant! You only see what you want to see. BL is misleading , it's no wonder they don't have an 800 # ….That alone doens't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. It's a scam when you don't get all the facts BEFORE you pay to join.

    This was based on my experience only!

  16. Barry says:

    Kelly, at least you followed your post with the fact that it was based on your own experience, and I can only speak for mine.

    Frankly it doesn't matter to me whether you believe that I've made money or not. Believe it, don't believe it – that's up to you. I'm not trying to recruit anyone here, so what reason do I have to lie? And I wouldn't lie anyway, as I do believe in karma.

    The meetings I've been to were DEFINITELY ran a lot better than the meetings you've been to. And the programs have been described in detail. It's too bad that you didn't have it that way. The introductory rah rah meetings are not the place to describe every little nuance of the program, that's what the people who brought you to it are for. This company is definitely doing their part to train people by the way of emails, attachments, webinars, local events etc. They just had a 2 day event here.

    My opinion is that it will be a lot easier to bring people in once the additional products and services are added into it.

    In closing, you don't know me well enough to call me ignorant. The true "bullshit" of your post lies in the fact that you think that these people don't care if you make money – that can't be further from the truth. The whole reason why they're doing meetings in the first place is because if someone takes you to a meeting, and you sign up from being there, then the person who brought you is making more money than the person doing the meeting. Do you not understand that? The meetings are helping the local people just as much as those at the top. You obviously don't know MLM.

  17. Ben says:

    Who gives this guy a blog in the first place. Man you arent making any money on this site yet you oppose those who are trying to make a buck. Ironic, if i must say so myself. I paid the 150.00 fee and in that same day, with a bit of small talk to my friends and people who wanted to take a chance on 150.00, I found myself making that money back. 1 day! Now, you can try to criticize me or accuse me of lying, but you may email me if you like and I will explain to you the way the system is suppossed to work. But if you are interested in BL, dont let this guy and his C rated blog disuade you from trying to make a buck. When I said 1 day, I meant 1 day…24 hours. Paid 150.00 made 200.00. Very basic accounting. You still have to work to make your money. Ben
    [email protected]

  18. Tony Zeoli says:

    Ben:

    It's so "C" level, you've graced us with your presence. Much appreciated. This blog is a much better place to visit now that you've added your two cents, which is about the money you make on each download from all of those customers you should have by now.

    You paid $150 to make $50. That's super impressive. We're all real proud of you. I want to be on that train.

    Tony

  19. Tony Zeoli says:

    Ben:

    You spent $150 to make $50 for one day's worth of work. Working an eight-hour day, that's a little over $6 an hour. Big numbers! You can make more than that working at Wendys or McDonalds. You can even make more than that at Starbucks, AND you'll get health insurance, which jumps your weekly pay a bit more.

    Saying that you made 50 bucks from one of your friends signing up means absolutely nothing to anyone in the music business. Tell me how many downloads you sold of a specific artist, tell me how much you made off music sales, tell me what artists are moving off your home page–then I'll be much more impressed.

    You see, my friend. You're not in it to sell music, but to sell mogulships to other unsuspecting suckers. It's not the music you care to sell. It's not the artists you want to support. It's the money you want to make by exploiting others weaknesses.

    To me, that's not a fundamental business proposition. It's a pyramid. You buy a mogul package, then the next two buy from you and so on. No where does it say in your post that you care about supporting recording artists with record sales. You only care to get your money back and make more money by getting others to sign up for the program, so you can get a commission.

    To tell you the truth, people who do that make me sick to my stomach. You're not in the music business, Ben. You're in the pyramid sales business. Don't deny it either. You and the people like you could care less about selling downloads. All you want to do is sell subs to other people, who you hope sell subs to their network.

    You people disgust me. Seriously, you do. No one ever talks about the music. They only talk about how you can make money selling Burnlounge subs to other people. C'mon Ben, get a life, bro. Do something that makes a difference in the world, instead of selling someone else's idea of reality. I think it's a joke, and I stand by that. Your belief that you made money is shortsighted and unfortunate. What did it cost you to get to the place to have that discussion with your first client? What did it cost you to have lunch that day, to put a roof over your head and gas in your car?

    Aren't those expenses tied to what you made that day? Of course they are, but you lack the business skills to know what's profit and what's cost. Fortunately, I understand ROI, and what you're saying is nothing of the sort.

    Good luck with your delusion.

    Tony Z.

  20. Barry says:

    Tony, there ya go calling it a pyramid again. We've been thru that already, remember? A little refresher – pyramids have no product. This does. And as Ben also knows, they're right around the corner from having more products. Are you gonna have the same opinion when all the other products are included?

    Tony I think we're a little alike in one way for absolutely sure – if I'm interested in something, my brain is like a sponge. I don't even have to take notes. My guess is that you're like that when it comes to music. But if I'm NOT interested in something but have to learn it anyway, you'd have a hard time getting me to understand it if you drilled a hole in my skull and forced the information in with a pile driver. When it comes to MLM Tony, you're absolutely that way. To a huge degree.

    I can't wait until there are several other products involved here so you can maybe get off the "you don't care about the music" schpiel already…

  21. Todd says:

    2007 is the year of Burnlounge!

    I have been a retailer for the last six weeks and my experience with the support system has been excellent. I have always gotten a quick response from the support center for the few times that I have needed their help. I have a great upline that is very helpful and available any time I need them. I have had several conversations/training sessions with one of the founders of the company and can text him or call him anytime.

    March-April is when BL goes international and is when the largest movie selection will be available through BL stores. Ring tones, tickets, television content, ebooks and more through the coming months. Before this time next year, content to cell phones and cell phone subscriptions will be sold through BL stores.

    I understand your concerns, Tony. I was aware of the compensation model beforehand and I feel comfortable with the support that I receive.

    Todd

  22. Tony Zeoli says:

    Todd:

    I'm glad someone has finally posted the word "retailer." It's taken so long for this thread to achieve that milestone.

    Todd, the only people who have posted here seem to only be interested in signing up other people, and have little interest in actual sales of products.

    Please tell us what your experiences have been and if anyone is buying digital music from you and how you have changed the music paradigm with your efforts.

    You see, that's what I want to hear. I want to find out who is actually using BurnLounge to sell downloads, how many are being sold and if not being iTunes friendly is impacting the business.

    You say that you've had several conversations and trainings. Why you and not others?

    Tony

  23. Barry says:

    C'mon Tony, gimme a break here – are you gonna sit there in front of your keyboard and tell me after all the posts I've done talking about the various products that this company will be adding in the near future that there's been no discussion of retail????? Are you kidding me?????????

    How many times have I mentioned the ongoing training Tony? How many?

    And you wonder why people get frustrated?

  24. Todd says:

    BL has something for everyone. If you want to come to my store and buy some tunes, buy movies, spoken word messages, etc. then you can do that for just the cost of the product you want. No other fees. If you want to have your own BL store, you can do that for only $29.95 a year. This allows you to feature what you want to feature on your store. You can filter out types of music that you dont want to promote (you wont find this feature on iTunes I don’t think). You earn reward points for those purchases that you are already making and you can earn reward points for any purchase that your friends and family make from you. Those reward points can then be redeemed for free music, sermons, tickets, video games etc. If you want to turn this into a serious business, then you can do that to. The choice is yours to make. No pressure, no gimmicks, it is for you to decide how you want to do it.

    I am a busy person as it is (I wont bore you with all the details), so I have not spent a hundred hours marketing this at this time. In the little time that I have spent on this, I have brought three people into BL and they at this point have already brought in one couple. So for the little time that I have put forth, things are going well as far as I am concerned.

    I have had purchases from my wife, mother-in-law and a few friends already. I have found several albums that I used to have as a kid that I lost the tape or album to years ago and have been thrilled to be able to find those within the 2 + million songs that are available in MY store. I get credit for the purchases that I make as well as on those from other people. When I used to go to Walmart, Best Buy, etc. to buy a cd, all I received at the end of that transaction was the cd and only sometimes a thanks from the clerk. Now I can get those from myself and get rewarded financially from that transaction.

    So, at the moment, I don’t have a thousand people under me buying thousands of songs, but I will. The purchases that my mother-in-law, friends and wife made would never have happened before because they bought songs that they wanted and those songs are not available at Tower records (out of business) or Walmart(only sells what’s hot at the moment). They did happen, however, because they know me, they know that I will stand behind the purchase and they like the choices that I provide them through my store.

    BL is about relationships and the bringing back of the corner record store where you could trust the opinion of the shop owner about a new record. You knew the person well enough to make purchases based on their recommendation because you knew they were as big of a music fan as you were.

    Version 2.0 is being launched in March. When this happens, all independant music will be iPod compatible so I have been told. By 3Q this year all major label music on BL will be iPod compatible.

    I believe that this is a moot point because within a year’s time or two, iPods will probably not be around like they are today. Look at just about every product that Apple has put out. What kind of market share do they have after a few years of a product’s existance? The mac market share is around 8-10% at best. I am not an expert on Apple, but I do remember reading through the years about certain products and you see the same pattern over and over. When I go to Wal-mart there are more and more choices for MP3 players. You are not locked in to an iPod any more. My two sons have two differnet brands of MP3 players, neither of which are iPods. They both have songs on those that I got for them off of BL (satirical comment when referring to Weird Al’s newest track White and Nerdy. ha ha)

    BL 2.0 will also launch with the largest collection of movies anywhere.
    BL 3.0 will be a cell phone client and will allow me to sell renewal contracts and other downloads straight to phones and I get paid for all of it.

    As far as the conversations/trainings, there are weekly scheduled training calls that are available for anyone to listen in on. There are weekly introduction calls that prospects can listen to. Anyone can participate in these trainings, they are available to all. These times and numbers are public knowledge. Specifically regarding the calls to one of the founders that I have had the honor to be involved in, I suppose its because of the relationship that I had with the person that brought me into BL. This person has a close working relationship with one of the founders, an initial introduction phone call was made to me early on, he has been willing to talk to my prospects at a moments notice and really wants to help me as much as possible. He does this with many, many people that are part of his team. This cofounder has 13000 stores under him and he has taken time out of his busy schedule several times now to talk to little ol’ me; retailer with only four people under me at this point. From what I hear, he does this with other people too.

    As far as no telephone number for people to call, that has been addressed and I believe a number is being setup as I type this. BTW, my dealings with the email support has been great.

    As far as the requirement for minimum purchases for each store each month, it can come from me or from any one of my customers. I do my best to tell people about this before hand. I have no problem telling people about the costs and showing them/telling them all the information available. I do not pressure them or make them do this. I invite them to listen to calls, watch videos that are available, etc. to properly educate them before they sign up.

    No pressure sales from me and my team. You either get it or you don’t. It is fine with me either way. There is a wave coming and I am going to ride that wave all the way to the top. If I can remember to do so, I will find this site in a years time (like you have suggested time and time again) and tell you all about it.

    Nokia, Cadillac and Logitech are all corporate sponsors. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Shaq, Brian Mcknight, Rick Dees, Terrell Owens, Matt Williams and more are retailers because they see the power in what is going on. If you want to get in, check my store out at http://www.burnlounge.com/mydigitalsuperstore and lets build us a team. ha ha

    I know you don’t agree with everything that has gone on in the past. I hope that we can continue to have a civil discussion of what BL is and what it is striving to become.

    Respectfully…

    Todd

  25. Tino says:

    I've just been asked to attend a BL meeting and decided to do some research on it before going. Tony, thanks for the site and thank you to everyone who has posted their opinions.

    Trying to be as pragmatic about the opportunity as possible, one must take an objective look at the business model – i.e.; the MLM commissions, the product, competition, the available served market, start-up cost and marketing.

    > MLM Commissions
    There's been talk here about Amway, Mary Kay etc. The funny thing about these MLMs is that they sell consumable products. For BL, once a song is bought there's no need (theoretically) for the same person to buy again. So for every one person who downloads, there will be an eventual tipping point. Those companies also sell products that are a lot more costlier than $0.99. So the BL-er needs to sell exponentially in volume to compare themselves to the Amway's of the world – from a sheer commission standpoint. To make $100/day (not a very lofty goal) one needs 2,000 downloads/day at $0.05 each (the generous side of what's been discussed). Sheer commissions remember. My vote on this issue – No Confidence.

    > The Product
    For now, as far as I know, music is the product. There are promises for other products but as of yet they are unavailable. When will they be available? These postings started back at the beginning of '06 and still nothing. My vote on promises – No Confidence

    There's an issue about compatibility. Beta Max vs. VHS type stuff. Right now we're in the middle of the HD-DVD and Blu-ray fight. Who will win out no one knows but it's not going to be the guy who makes it difficult to use, find and especially license. A far superior format lost out to VHS for these reasons. That's why I think Sony will win this one. They took it in the ass on Beta Max and they are not likely to let that happen again. Even though Apple fits the "hard to license" mold, their iPods have become ubiquitous. This means that the BL business model initially starts with a disadvantage. Not exactly the smartest move when developing a business model.

    Another issue is the bit rate. What is the bit rate? With P2P you can hunt out bit rates and download a higher quality recording. This is why I have a Nomad player. I could not find information on the iPod's signal-to-noise ratio. If BL is marketing themselves as the "audiophile's site" that is a competitive advantage. If not, it's the me-too 128 bit rate stuff and I haven't seen anything about it being an "audiophile" site so my vote – No Confidence.

    > The Competition
    Everyone knows who the competition is with the big name players, so the question comes down to what is BL's competitive advantage? Unfortunately, I don't see one. The price is the same, the quality is the same, service seems to be an iffy thing and there's no differentiation between my BL site and any of the 1,000s of other BL sites except the songs I want to promote. And then I can't even advertise that fact. No Confidence.

    > The Available Served Market
    As stated earlier, the available served market is automatically cut by 70% due to compatibility issues. Why would anyone start from a position of weakness and on top of that compete for the remaining 30% with all of your neighbors and with no competitive advantage? No Confidence.

    I'm not even going to get into start up costs and marketing because it's already a loser. The only way to make money with this is to sign people up as a mogul. If that's what you like to do who needs BL? You can do that with any MLM company. I'm a Capitalist so I prefer to succeed or fail due to my efforts, not those of others. Isn't Socialism another word for MLM?

  26. Tony Zeoli says:

    Tino:

    Thank you for your kind note about the blog. I'm glad that I could provide a forum for everyone to air their comments.

    I agree with your points wholeheartedly and wonder why BurnLoungers can't see what you and I see?

    Tony

  27. Barry says:

    Good questions – here are some answers. Gotta hit the last one first though. Socialism and MLM in the same sentence? Not even close to close. Aside from purely self employed people, there isn't a company or business out there that's not totally dependent on the efforts of others. But in MLM, everyone gets the chance to make something out of themselves. Now granted, the ones earlier in have a greater chance, but how's that different from a whole host of other companies out there? MLM is a TOTALLY viable way of doing business. Companies are smart to distribute their products that way because they never have to incur most of the costs to hire and train and fire and maintain a sales force, nor do they have to incur the huge marketing expenses that especially a newer company gets nailed with. MLM is truly Capitalistic – which by the way is one of the reasons why Tony hates it. Tony's take on MLM is that the people at the top sit on their backsides on their thrones while the newbie slaves do the work. Completely untrue. The big earners in this company are selling and pitching and consulting and promoting and helping others do the same on almost a non-stop basis.

    As far as products are concerned – stay tuned. Many more things will become part of Burnlounge, starting sometime this month. What they're saying is that in time, the music will be the lowest profit product they have. That will make it even more Capitalistic, which will make Tony blow a vein. It wouldn't surprise me if Burnlounge becomes one of the largest download sources in the country within the next year ot two. While this company is growing like crazy, it's still in its fledgling stages as compared to where it'll go. And again, version 2.0 gets introduced this month. Compare AOL 1.0 to AOL 9.0 and tell me if it improved or not.

    Yes, part of the commission earnings comes from signing up moguls. And the problem with that is??? Everybody knows that coming in. It's no secret. It's MLM.

    Tony's heart is in the right place (sorta), but he doesn't understand why the MLM side of it makes it work and therefore he resents it based on that lack of understanding. But for the technical part of what you asked, my guess is he knows the answers.

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