Some interesting tidbits from around the musical web…

So, I had some downtime tonight, after finishing a mid-term for my Wireless Communications class at NYU. I really hadn’t been checking the wires this weekend for anything interesting. But, I had some things on my mind that I wanted to share. So, I thought I’d spout them out here. Nothing in particular, I’ll just wing it. How’s that?

First, there’s a plug-in for WordPress (application that runs this blog) called, CG-Refer. It’s a cool little app in that it can tell me a few things–like stats about the number of unique IP’s (the funny number your internet provider gives you, which lets web servers know your pinging them and from where) visiting the blog and which search engine delivered that person here.

The best thing about CG-Ref is it tracks the text, or what we call, the search string one would type in to query Google, Yahoo, or any other search engine for that matter. CG-Refer gives me a running list of the last 20 or so search queries users typed in and clicked on to get here.

What’s the most popular seach text typed in driving traffic to the Netmix blog? Well, it looks like it’s a toss-up between PachaNYC and Burnlounge.com. Most people seem to be just looking for Pacha information, but on the Burnlounge side…whew!

Let’s just say there are a few people out there who really want to know the inside scoop on Burnlounge, and a lot of them are linking to my previous article about Burnlounge (Burnlounge.com Launches Viral Marketing Effort In New York City, 25 February 2006) to find information they seem not to be getting from the right sources.

Today, one search string said, “want my money back from burnlounge.” Now, that’s not a good sign, is it? Here’s another, “Is Burn Lounge simply a ponzi scheme in other words.”

To prove my point, here’s a screen shot of my CG-Refer module in the administration dashboard for my blog:

netmix cg-refer screenshot

Remember, I was at their New York seminar, and I didn’t get all the information either. What I did get was a rah-rah, techno-laden informercial about how I could make tons of money in downloads by paying Burnlounge a fee to “get in” on the download generation with my own online download store, run with Burnlounge’s backend.

I’d previously written, after all the costs associated with promotion, marketing, staff, etc…; the revenue one would generate from using Burnlounge’s technology after selling ten’s of thousands of download’s would be neglible at best. You wouldn’t cover your monthly outlay, especially if you are two or three steps removed from the business development at the company itself. It’s called multi-level marketing, which some refer to as a “pyramid.” The further you are from the top, the harder it is to make the money to sutain your business. You have to share a split with the person who signed you up, then they share with the person who signed them up, and on it goes. I believe everyone should be on an equal playing field, one step from the source, which is fair. If I have to share my profits with the person who referred me to Burnlounge, and that person shares some of my profit with the person who introduced them to Burnlounge, then that person shares with the next person, and then Burnlounge takes a slice…how much is really left after all that slicing and dicing of PENNIES per download?

Unless you own your own music and you use Burnlounge’s technology to sell it, I don’t see how you can make any real money with the concept, unless you invest ton’s of cash yourself in marketing, promotion and employees. Then you have to sell MILLIONS of tracks, in Windows Media format only, to make your money back. And who cares about Windows Media when the Apple’s iPod, which owns 75 PERCENT OF THE DOWNLOAD MARKET, only plays ACC? Or you can get the MP3 for FREE on BearShare or Limewire? Folks, that’s your competition!

If you want to open a store and sell just your own music, there are other company’s like Musicane.com, who’s platform seems more transparent. To me more they are clear about the how you can use their service to enhance your web presence and sell music you own the rights to.

I also found out, although you would have access to the LoudEye catalog, Burnlounge’s distribution partner (who according to Sean Ryan’s Shark Jumpin blog are having problems themselves with profitability in the digital music space), you don’t have access to the independent dance tracks in the Beatport catalog, even though Burnlounge licensed their web site platform from the leading dance music retailer. So, all you dance music people out there that think you’re going to be able to sell your favorite deep house tracks to the masses, you won’t be able to unless Burnlounge sign up those labels individually. I think Beatport’s got a long, running start on that model, no?

Okay, onto other, more positive subjects. The other night, I was cruising home in my girlfriend’s Benz (um…okay…2001 Honda Accord), and I was listening to a talk show on the radio. For the life of me, I forgot what station and who the host was, but I do remember he was interviewing the lead singer of the group, Incognito, one of the most influential soul/r&b group’s of the last 20-years, whose cover version of Charvoni’s “Always There” is a DJ’s delight.

Maysa Leak - Sweet Classic SoulAlways a sucker for classic soul and r&b ballads, my ears perked up when I heard that Shanachie Records had asked vocalist, Maysa Leak, to record classic jams for a new album, Sweet Classic Soul.

The Baltimore based soulstress has an incredible voice. So good in fact, she was once asked by Stevie Wonder to audition for him for a tour. During the radio interview, she talked about how Stevie took her to see her idol, Chaka Khan. That night, a few different singers took turns with Chaka on stage, but she was giving each one a hard time, as one after the other tried to outdo the legendary singer who’s voice is unmatchable. Remember folks, there’s only one Chaka Khan!

Wonder turned to Maysa and told her to go up and sing with Chaka, but Maysa was afraid that if she didn’t cut it, she’d get cut down like the others. She told the host, it would have just devesatated her. She laughed and proclaimed if that had happened, “it would castrate my vocal chords!”

But, Stevie had faith in her and pushed her to go up on stage. Once she got up there, she said wasn’t sure what to do, so she just started “scatting.” When Chaka heard her doing something different than the others, she simply shouted, “Go on, girl!” At that moment, Maysa knew she could hang with the legends.

So, check out the album on Amazon, or visit her web site for more on Maysa Leak. You’ll be pleasantly surprised! I definitely was. From Roll’s Royce’s classic, “Wishing On A Star” to Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do”, the album is filled with gems. She also covers one of my all time favs, “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” by Roberta Flack.

Interestingly, she sings a few songs by male arists on the album, because she said she wanted women to have a chance to use her songs to be the protagonist when it comes to love. She said, women are always taught to be on the receiving end, but with this album, they can kind of flip the tables and take on the more masculine role. Pretty cool idea if you ask me…I’m gonna buy this for my girl, Missy and see if the theory works!

The only other big news this week is the the countdown to the Winter Music Conference. As I wrote last week, I’ll be speaking on two panels, one on Saturday and the other Sunday. Hopefully, I can find the time to blog from the conference and take some great pics. I’m going down Saturday, so I’ll probably miss some of the opening parties on Thursday and Friday night, but I’ll try and make it to the Ultra Festival and report from there if I can.
Today, I purchased a new tele-photo lens for my Konica Minolta Dimage A200 digital camera, so I’m hoping to get some good shots of some girls…ahem…I mean, a few DJs on the decks from afar.

Two other tidbits from the world of DJ culture:

First, it’s official. In last week’s Billboard, Micahel Paoletta reported that Studio Distribution went under. I couldn’t believe it myself at first, but when I saw it in print, I realized it was true. Paoletta writes that things are a bit up in the air for the hundreds of labels distributed by Studio, as they can’t seek alternative distribution until Studio files for bankruptcy. At one point, Navarre, their distribution partner, were supposed to take over Studio’s operations, but when one of Navarre’s largest clients went under and defaulted on millions of dollars in payments, the company decided they couldn’t take on the extra weight of Studio and the distributor had to shut its doors.

Second, finally Pioneer gets it right and adds MP3 support to their line of CDJ Digital Turntables! Talk about late to the party! I guess it’s better late than never. I’ll have to check them out for myself now. Love Traktor DJ, but I really want the feel of the tables again. And it seems as if every nightclub has a pair of CDJ’s now, alongside the traditional 1200’s. I’m sure I’ll be able to get a feel for them at Remix Hotel at the M3 Summit. Can’t wait! For more on the addition of MP3 support to the CDJ decks, check out Furturemusic.com.

Goodnight!

Tony Z.

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