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Nettwerk And Barenaked Ladies Show The Music Industry The Future

LOS ANGELES ( - Barenaked Ladies Are Me, the first original album in 3 years from BNL, charts today at No 17 in the US with 36,811 album sold and No 7 in Canada with 8,008 album sold. Anyone can grab a Neilson SoundScan report and see this information, but the interesting part is what the report doesn't show.

BNL are an indie band once again, releasing Barenaked Ladies Are Me last week on their artist-run label, Desperation Records. In addition to a physical album, the band found it important to make their songs available to fans in a wide variety of ways...from digital albums to a 27-song deluxe edition (physical in Canada/digital in US), individual tracks, USB flash drives and even vinyl. They want their fans to have as many options as possible in regards to how they chose to consume music, and they can do this because they own their own intellectual property.

So what is the point of all this information? Simply this: An album's success can no longer be measured by a physical number in a weekly report.

Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group (dubbed the "next-gen music company" by Wired Magazine) and manager of Barenaked Ladies comments: "Nettwerk and BNL are trying to get people to see beyond the physical number. Generating revenue, especially in the artist-run model, is about selling music in various mediums, selling concert tickets, licensing music to TV, ring tones, packed USB drives, etc. That is how success is measured, not by the physical album sales."

Here is what you might miss if you only look to the charts for information: individual digital track sales, digital albums purchased directly from the BNL, Nettwerk and MySpace websites, the combined sales of the standard album and Deluxe Edition, USB flash drive sales, ring tone sales, stem sales from their remixing contest and more. Additionally, you won't see the difference in revenue that a band generates from an artist-run label as opposed to a band on a major label; an artist-run label can earn as much as $5 per album.

Once all of these missing entities are factored together, a difference close to 30% of North American sales is missing from the chart equation.

"The artist-run model is the future. If we can break bands using this model, the industry will be forever changed," McBride says. "We are making a music company, not a record label."

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