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Industry Standard

Music trade mag merges with MP3 site


November 18, 1999
Web posted at: 9:22 a.m. EST (1422 GMT)

by Lessley Anderson

(IDG) -- College Music Journal has officially jumped into the Internet game. The music-industry trade journal inked a deal with New York Web developer Rare Medium Group that will merge it with Rare's spin-off, a music site geared toward MP3 fans.

CMJ, which publishes a weekly and monthly magazine, has made its publications must-reads for the music industry by tracking and promoting the emerging careers of indie bands popular on the college circuit. It was the first publication to track the playlists of college radio stations, and published an early report detailing which CDs were selling well online. Recently, however, the bands on which CMJ reports have flocked to MP3 sites, while CMJ has taken no part in the phenomenon. Its own Web site was little more than the magazine thrown up online.

MP3: The new wave

Until now. With capital from public company Rare Medium, CMJ will get a chance to update its site so that the music industry can get customized stats on the fly for a subscription fee. In this way, CMJ plans to begin morphing its trade business onto the Web.

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On the consumer side, CMJ plans to lend its editorial cachet to ChangeMusic's existing sites, which include an MP3 publishing site for aspiring bands, and several other MP3 sites including,,, and

CMJ's influence will be felt most keenly on ChangeMusic's flagship site. where editors will listen to MP3s submitted by artists. The editors will then use print and the Web to promote those they find promising. Just as in the offline world, however, some of these promotions will be based on factors other than merit.

CMJ publishes and bundles a CD in its weekly print magazine. Roughly 75 percent of those CDs are paid placements from labels, although CMJ editors get the final say. "You've got to keep a Chinese firewall between your editorial and the music you're promoting," says Bob Haber, the publisher and founder of CMJ who is now the CEO of ChangeMusic Network. "We intend to specify what's promotional and what's not."

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