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COULD ADVERTISING SOLVE NAPSTER’S PROBLEMS?

But Don’t Order Yet—You Also Get The MP3-Enabled "Miracle Hammer"
If you can't stop it, you might as well bring in some advertising revenue.

Digital media promotions company Digital Payloads, Inc. has entered the MP3 fray, announcing its proprietary solution "Payloads" (not to be confused with Paylars). DP embeds label or advertiser promotions and links into licensed music files.

Payload-embedded files display promotions within music players; listeners are given links to artist or label/advertiser Web sites. The embedded files work with WinAmp, MusicMatch, Windows Media Player and other MP3 players.

These music files would ideally bring revenue to musicians while encouraging free distribution of songs among the Napsters and Gnutellas of the world.

Is it an idea whose time has come? There are certainly indications of a can't-beat-‘em-join-‘em philosophy around the biz. For example, a recent study by Melodicom Partners suggests that even if Napster were to be shut down, tech-savvy music swappers still have plenty of opportunities for trading. The survey found that 67% of hardcore downloaders were well acquainted with other sites or methods for exchanging music, including surreptitious sites on free Web sites such as Tripod and Xoom. They also know all the cool places for celebrity nudes and great Linux jokes.

The purpose of the study of 15,000 North Americans aged 16-49 was ostensibly to determine why people downloaded songs for free—uh, they're free—and offer solutions that may stop or slow the downloading. It all sounds fine and good until the press release divulges that a more comprehensive report can be had by e-mailing [email protected]. No lie.

Sounds like Melodicom Partners and Digital Payloads might not be on the same side.

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