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CNN: “Why record labels matter now more than ever”

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Matchbox Twenty…has been with Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records for ten years. The band gets tons of radio play and has sold some 28 million albums. When I asked Livia Tortella, Atlantic’s general manager and executive vice president of marketing and creative media, how her team is promoting Exile on Mainstream, she shot over a 41-page, “phase I” marketing plan.

It’s packed with — dates on Jay Leno and elsewhere, scheduled radio interviews and so on –… Fans who pre-ordered the entire album on Apple’s iTunes got the single, “How Far We’ve Come,” at the time of purchase, plus a bonus track. There were bundled offerings on iTunes that included extra songs if you chose the non a la carte option. Wal-Mart shoppers got exclusive video. A deal with Viacom’s VH1.com gave that channel an exclusive stream of the album a week prior to the in-store release date…Atlantic also landed a featured spot for the band’s video on Google’s YouTube, and it premiered some content on News Corp.’s MySpace. Then there are mobile deals, such as the one with AT&T Mobility, where customers had access to exclusive live audio and streaming video as part of the launch of its over-the-air download store. Matchbox Twenty was featured on the screen that mobile users first see when hunting for music……

….”How else do you break through all the noise?” says Donald Passman, author of “All You Need to Know About the Music Business,” and Radiohead‘s attorney. Even Radiohead, held out in the press as the rebels of the industry, is negotiating to once again sign with a label. [CNN likes major labels]

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