February 19, 2003
Business Models for the Hippest of Record Companies

Go with the flow, man. And get crackin! Profits are down for RIAA type record companies, but hey, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is making bank to the tune of a 33% increase in profits this year. They use recordable CD's, or CD-R's to copy their catalog, thereby ensuring that their extensive catalog never hits the dust bin. They've been doing this since 1996, creating a "just-in-time" model for delivery. (Every time they get an order, an employee makes 5 copies, one for the order and 4 for future orders.)

With 2,168 titles dating to 1948, they cover works from Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs to "Music From Western Samoa: From Conch Shell to Disco" (1984) and "Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods" (1955). They are also trying out small runs of CDs, of which their first, "Bells & Winter Festivals of Greek Macedonia," was so popular, they put it into the regular retail catalog.

So, what are the rest of those less-than-hip record companies waiting around for? Hop to it! Make love, not war, with your (netgen, filesharing, the internet-is-an-environment-not-a-tool) customers!

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 19, 2003 01:14 AM
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