Musicmaker.com Names Razor & Tie Media Buyer

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Razor & Tie Direct, a direct response television agency and record label, recently signed a national media buying agreement with Musicmaker.com, the online custom music compact disc company.


The first spot, produced by Musicmaker, is a short-form DRTV ad for "The Who Live: The Blues to the Bush." The ads started airing earlier this month in local and national cable and over-the-air markets.


"The agreement calls for us to handle all future media buying," said Cliff Chenfeld, co-owner of Razor & Tie Direct, New York. "We have 10 years of experience specifically selling CDs on the air, so our reputation and success brought them to us. They will produce the ads themselves, and we will use our knowledge to place the spots where they will be most effective."


Due to a confidentiality agreement, Chenfeld could not comment on the length or extent of the deal, but he did say that for an indefinite period of time, Musicmaker will turn to the company for guidance and media buying for future DRTV campaigns.


The two-disc "The Blues to the Bush" set is a collection of the English band's greatest hits recorded live last year. The music was previously available only at Musicmaker's Web site. This collection represents the first time the company has gone offline to DRTV to offer its merchandise to a public that either doesn't have Internet access or is more receptive to an 800 number than an online shopping cart.


"We believe a concentrated, ambitious, short-form direct response campaign is an efficient and natural way to generate sales and migrate The Who buyers to our Web site," said Bill Crowley, senior vice president of sales development at Musicmaker, Reston, VA. "This will raise awareness of the project to the public at large and make this great recording available to fans lacking Internet access."


Chenfeld echoed Crowley's sentiments and said the deal represents a trend in the DRTV industry toward more and more record labels and new media companies such as Musicmaker that are no longer afraid to sell popular music through direct response.


"There used to be a stigma attached to selling music through DRTV," said Chenfeld. "That has disappeared. We are consistently selling compilation CDs with current hits still playing on Top-40 radio. Both the labels and dot-coms like Musicmaker realize it is a cost-effective and successful way to reach people. The CD store is certainly not the only place to buy music. There are so many new avenues. Why not turn to one that has been so successful in the past, like DRTV?"


The ad buys will concentrate on three key areas: Who-related programming, such as guitarist/singer Pete Townshend's recent appearance on VH1's "Storytellers" show; locations where the Musicmaker-sponsored Who tour is hitting this summer; and programming geared to baby boomers, who grew up listening to the rock band, Chenfeld said.


Raising awareness of the national Musicmaker tour is a big part of the media buys. The tour will pair The Who with fellow Musicmaker alumni -- guitar icon Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and the Atlanta-based blues and rock band The Black Crowes, with whom Page has toured previously.


Earlier this year, when Musicmaker offered a two-disc set featuring Page and The Black Crowes, it received extraordinary numbers and easily became the company's best-selling offer to date. With the DRTV spots for the Who album hitting the same markets, sales for the Black Crowes/Jimmy Page release are expected to drive more attention and hits to the Musicmaker site.


"This will benefit Musicmaker in more ways than only selling the Who album," Chenfeld said. "More visitors and purchases all around, attention for the tour and branding are just a few of the benefits that this campaign can bring."
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