Pity the music industry. Between 99-cent downloads, free - if not always legal -file-sharing services and MP3 blogs, and an increasingly fragmented audience, it's desperately in need of a new revenue stream.
Jon Cohen and Rob Stone, two veteran music marketers, think they've got one: advertisers that will underwrite free downloading. They've put together of network of MP3 blogs including three of their own such sites - thefader.com, thetripwire.com and 1200squad.com - and RCRD LBL, an innovative web music destination run by Peter Rojas, founder of Engadget and Gizmodo. And Cohen and Stone have already done advertising deals across this network with companies like Microsoft's Zune portable music player and Toyota's Lexus. "There are a lot of great sites that have it together from the editorial standpoint but not the marketing standpoint," says Cohen. "We figured why not pool things so we can compete in a tough market?"