Friday, July 14, 2006

FestivaLink tour

I met Ann Blonston, president of FestivaLink, backstage for a tour of its recording trailer and a chat about our mutual business plans. Despite my public criticism of FestivaLink's pricing structure, I am really quite supportive of what they are trying to do. I think it would be good for everybody if there were a standard channel for legal festival recordings. Initially it could arrive as a parallel infrastructure to the robust tape trading community. Later, it would begin to supplant some of the less virtuous forms of tape trading.

So I like what Blonston is trying to do and think that my own publishing strategy is potentially complementary. After our visit, I can say that I like Blonston personally too. She has a track record and a reputation in the acoustic music industry. She says all the right things about her motivations and approach to the business.

One news item that emerged from our discussion is that FestivaLink will partner with Martha's Vineyard Radio to promote streaming and downloadable sets from the Newport Folk Festival. With that festival in early August, that leaves limited time for signing artist agreements. That was the same situation she faced with Grey Fox, where there was limited time for artist relations. I didn't press her for what names she has agreements for, but I get the impression that some of the bigger names are not on board.

Blonston explained that frequently the problem has been with artists' record labels, who might prefer to control the market for all artist recordings. That's understandable, and it is just one of the many problems FestivaLink will face as it grows its business. I wish it the best of luck.

Del McCoury is on the main stage, and the requests are being called out. I think I'll go catch the end of the set.

1 comment:

TOB said...

what publishing strategy or business plan are you talking about?? .....and how it is it complimentary to festivalLink?

That company has a strange and ultimately unsuccessful business model and I feel it's a mtter of time before they fade away.