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Web Events (more headlines) 12-12-2003

A Reason To Pay For New Music: Fan Orders Can Now Launch Major New Artists Through Changerz

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At Changerz, music fans take the place of record labels and entertainment executives in deciding which new artists get heard and supported through a groundbreaking new web-based service.

Changerz's innovative new music service is an effort to bring excitement and innovation to a music business that has lost much of its edge. At the current rate of consolidation, two or three giant global companies will control most of the major bands launched in just a few years. Music fans seem to be the losers in all of this. They're faced with the unhappy prospect of an "attack of the music clones" -- less diversity, and less of the music they really want to hear. It's no wonder there's an increasing reluctance to pay money for music that supports the major label business. Changerz plans to change all of this in a fundamental way.

Music fans can now team up at Changerz to "launch" major new unsigned artists by placing "launch orders" for "download+album insert" music launch/membership packages, in addition to CD launch/membership packages. "Our goal is to make the ability to launch great new artists accessible to everyone," noted Changerz Vice President Chris Wunz. "You can now help launch a major new artist for about $10."

Here are the details of how Changerz's music service works. Based on consumer submissions and its own review, Changerz selects a small number of exceptional unsigned bands to place onto its web site. Consumers sample the bands and then place "launchvotes" for their preferred bands by purchasing "music and perks packages." Changerz launches and signs record deals with all of the bands that have secured enough launchvotes during the voting cycle. The proceeds of the launchvotes are used by Changerz to help make the new album, provide the band with live performance support, and eventually distribute, market, promote and introduce the band to the general public. Along the way, fans get to participate in the success of the band, getting advance delivery of the album and a chance at earning unique awards.

The two independent bands currently on Changerz were chosen from more than 300 considered for the site's launch. Participating musicians hailed the new service as an innovative launching pad. "It's great to see a service that helps connect fans to musicians in such an innovative way," said Phillip Gregory of the Seattle pop/alternative rock band Bionic Systems Go. "Getting supported by consumers who care about our music just makes a lot of sense." The band is now featured on the site, along with alternative rock band Green Rode Shotgun of Cookeville, Tennessee. Green Rode Shotgun's manager Tige Casey added, "The concept of passivity and cookie cutting is dead, great music is all around us, and it is time to open the flood gates."

"The music industry is made possible only through the support of fans," said Changerz founder Irfan Kamal. "We don't buy the idea that executives can make better decisions than fans about which bands to launch. So we decided to empower those fans and provide the tools for them to not only launch, but also share in the success of their chosen bands. If we want fans to buy music, we need to give them music they really want -- and provide a much closer connection to the bands, so they know their money is going directly into making great new music possible, rather than into the coffers of a major label."

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