Great Wired News editorial on Public Enemy's Internet strategy -- releasing albums online, encouraging remixes, etc. Public Enemy was nearly wiped out by lawsuits arising from the band's use of samples, and now they're working to make sample-friendly music:
As a jab to PolyGram, Public Enemy's distributor at the time, the group released There's a Poison Goin' On over the internet and on zip drives, until the band was finally released from its contract. Emboldened by the success, they went on to form their own record label. They created Rapstation to showcase new hip-hop talent. And they built PublicEnemy.com into a highly trafficked website, where among other things, they make a cappella versions of their songs available and encourage fans to make remixes.
Even more remarkable is the way Public Enemy has structured its distribution deals. Whereas many bands sell publishing rights to their record labels in exchange for an advance, Public Enemy grants its distributors a limited license. After a specified period, the rights revert back to the group.
Add to the mix Chuck D's weekly talk show on the Air America radio network, his own channel on AOL Radio and the band's regular tours of Asia, Europe and the United States, and Public Enemy becomes a prime example of the success that follows from a properly executed do-it-yourself strategy.
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