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    “You can’t compete with Disney and Nickelodeon”

    When Justin Bieber’s My World Acoustic was released exclusively through Walmart, it was one of many landmarks in his supersonic career that has taken him from webcam sensation on YouTube to one of the biggest pop stars on the planet.

    It wasn’t easy though. In spite of a heavyweight co-signer in Usher, the record labels were reluctant to sign an artist without a major platform. In a recent interview with Billboard, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun explains how the labels told him that Bieber had no way of breaking out through YouTube alone. The common knowledge was that you can’t compete with Disney and Nickelodeon.


    In a lot of ways Justin Bieber is a pre-cursor of where we all are heading. Justin Bieber got his break on YouTube, and currently holds the #1 spot on the platform with  400 million views of the music video for Baby. More important than a marquee clip of Baby caliber though, is Bieber’s constant interaction with his fans through lo-fi video messages and tweets.

    On a slightly smaller scale the two latest hip hop franchises, Drake and Nicki Minaj, also got their breaks with very little major label backup. Drake’s Best I Ever Had, off his selfreleased mixtape So Far Gone, was an international hit last year. He was the grand prize in a bidding war where Sylvia Rhone and Universal eventually had to back up a very big money truck in order to secure a deal, and he found himself nominated for music awards before he even had an official release out.

    Nicki Minaj was featured on pretty much every single remix released for almost a year leading up to her album release. She surpassed 1 million Twitter followers months before her album Pink Friday scored the highest first week sales for a female rapper since Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of… in 1998.

    So do we need to rethink what it takes to break a new franchise artist? What part should the record labels play and is there room for brands to associate with these artists BEFORE they become mainstream? Could Walmart have been an integral part of the Justin Bieber saga in 2008 instead of acting as a mere distribution channel in 2010? If brands are to be a relevant part of music and culture in the future, perhaps they need to step up to the plate and enter the game at an earlier stage?

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    Why Pirate Bay will continue to sway

    The Svea Court of Appeal will give their verdict in the Pirate Bay trial tomorrow. As the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter today asks, is the verdict of any actual interest? Will a conviction actually affect the music and movie industries, or the ones downloading illegally? After tomorrow, the guys behind Pirate Bay may not continue to sway, but their site and file-sharing most likely will.

    In April 2009, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström, the guys behind Pirate Bay, were found guilty of assistance to copyright infringement and were sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 30 million SEK (approximately 4.3 million USD). They appealed, and tomorrow, 26 November 2010, the Svea Court of Appeal will announce its verdict.

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    The guys behind Pirate Bay have more than 30 million reasons to pray for a verdict of acquittal. A conviction tomorrow would definitely affect them. But for the site itself and the 20 million people downloading movies and music using Pirate Bay, a conviction won’t have any specific impact. Neither will the movie or music industries gain much from such a verdict. The reason? The Pirate Bay trial deals with the specific technology used at the time of the indictment. Today file-sharers play around with new technology developed to make it really difficult to track down any person who is file sharing.

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    What is there for the movie and music industries to learn? Well, it has been said plenty of times before, by plenty of others, and representatives from the movie and music industries are probably bored to death from hearing it. Yet, it can’t be said enough. They have to evolve, because there’s nothing to gain from fighting strong development. This actually goes for any industry that wants to survive.

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    The Manual - How to build a successful strategy to interest brands

    Heartbeats gives you ‘The Manual’ – a manual for bands and artists on how to build a successful strategy to attract brands (or how to sell out without selling out). This material was first presented at MIDEM earlier this year, and due to a big interest from artists, record labels and publishers, in getting access to the material, Heartbeats decided to put together ‘The Manual’.

    ‘The Manual’ is now yours for a tweet!

    You can also view ‘The Manual’ on SlideShare.

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