Wired article about BigChampagne; a new venture that tracks peer to peer music downloads and uses the data for market research. They match partial IP addresses to zip codes to determine what songs are hot in what markets. They’re being used by major record labels, but in most cases not openly.
But even as the industry as a whole litigates, many of the individual labels are quietly reaching out to BigChampagne, turning file-sharing networks into the world’s biggest focus group. In the beleaguered music business, this market research strategy that dare not speak its name is fast becoming the Nielsen ratings of the peer-to-peer world.
Some record labels are starting to get it; music swapping over the Internet isn’t going away.
“The fact is, P2P is a likely distribution channel for our wares,” says Jed Simon, head of new media for DreamWorks Records. “If we’re going to be intelligent businesspeople, it behooves us to understand it.”
Now they just need to figure out a way to harness the beast and turn it into a profit machine.