The Company You Keep (aka “Burnlounge Sucks”)

I tried hard to be diplomatic, but the volume of hate mail and the truly bizarre comments about Burnlounge have driven me over the edge.

Previously, I posted that I did not feel that Burnlounge was a ripoff. It’s a valid alternative to iTunes and other online music download stores. However, I noted that I wouldn’t recommend that any of my clients pay any kind of signup or setup fee to open up their own Burnlounge store — I think that artists have plenty of ways to grow revenue from fans without having to pay a Burnlounge reseller any kind of upfront or monthly fee.

Apparently, a lot of Burnlounge resellers took that as a direct attack on their livelihood. And, as a rule, you get judged by the company you keep. So, as long as Burnlounge lets their affiliates and “burn teams” or whoever run around making false accusations, I’m going to amend my previous statements by saying:

“Y’all suck.”

Seriously, though, I’m worried about what some folks are telling artists. One commenter claims that Burnlounge is the ONLY company that is monetizing the “band-to-fan” relationship.

Uh, no.

How about Sellaband? Or CD Baby? Or even MySpace? If I whipped out my Rolodex, I could probably find a hundred other companies that are putting more actual dollars into the pockets of artists than any Burnlounge store.

I’m also hearing about Burnlounge reps telling artists that iTunes is actively kicking independent artists out of the iTunes Store. I call shenanigans. While it is true that iTunes does not work directly with indie musicians, anyone can get their music into iTunes by using a third party distributor, like CD Baby or even The Orchard.

For folks like Jason that claim I’m uninformed, I have worked with independent musicians for sixteen years. And, I can tell you, fans are not in any huge hurry to earn commissions or points or anything else to spread music. (This is also why so many points-based street teams fail.) They share music with friends because they love the music, not because they’re trying to make five cents per download.

Most folks don’t have the kind of free time that it would take to build a Burnlounge store into a profitable venture. If you do, then good luck with that. Nobody’s going to stand in your way. But when folks have at least a dozen easier ways to get their hands on new music, you’ve got one heck of an uphill battle.

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4 responses

  1. […] Burnlounge bills itself as “the world’s first community-powered digital download service,” offering its own version of the emerging new music business model starring fans as retailers. See here and here for some cynical takes on this. Joe at who used to be sympathetic has also now modified his opinion to “Burnlounge sucks.” Digital Media Wire recently interviewed Burnlounge co-founder Stephen Murray. Here are some excerpts: DMW: What was the driving force behind the idea for Burnlounge? Murray: I had a record company with Carson Daly and a couple other people including Ryan Dadd. We were trying to figure out how to market our artists in a new and unique way, using a process that’s always existed, which is friends telling friends about artists they think are cool.[…] […]

  2. Burnlounge does indeed suck.

    I spent 8 months as part of that scam. Saw a lot of people lost money and waste time. It’s not about music and it never was, just about signing up people to the chain letter. I did make my money back from signups, but my entire downline never sold more than $10 in music. Combined. And the signups are slowing down now.

    Big big scam. Dumb scam. The fanboys can’t even figure out the basic math.

  3. A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE: I’m a gym owner, real estate investor, public speaker, and more. I could care less about Myspace; I could care less about CD Baby, I could care less about SellaBand, and in the beginning when an “artist??? FIRST told me about Burnlounge, I could care less about Burnlounge as well. Then, a few weeks later, a trusted and highly successful friend of mine who understands franchising, leverage, and timing, told me to take a better look at Burnlounge. I checked out [redacted] and then listened to the VOD at [redacted] (3 minute recorded call) and it all started to make sense. I paid about $450 or so and signed up. I told probably 100 “business” people I knew (only because I didn’t know many artists) about this. 30 of them “got it??? and “got in??? and since then my organization has grown to over 1200 people in 5 months. That is a lot of people who seem to think this makes sense. I know there are over 50,000 retailers in Burnlounge at this point (as of Jan, 2007). As a business minded person this just made sense to me and it clearly is to many others. PERHAPS WE’RE JUST NOT AS SMART AS YOU MR. JOE TAYLOR, Jr. 🙂 Joe, next time you meet a Burnlounge retailer, ask to talk to someone making some real money in this company and then ask that person to introduce you to the CEO of Burnlounge, Alex Arnold. He will talk to you. I had lunch with him myself and I know I could introduce you to him. And when you talk to him, TRY LISTENING. I have a feeling you tend to talk more than listen. Then, after doing some real interviewing and research, you can come back here and do some real reporting.

  4. If Alex would like to buy me lunch, I’ll be delighted to let him do all of the talking. Until then, my response is here: