Smart Ideas 02/04

Music to His Ears

What: A subscription service for record companies to track how many people are sharing music in P2P (peer-to-peer) networks
Who: Michael Guy of WebSpins.com
Where: Encino, California
When: Started in 2000

People didn't think it was possible, but Michael Guy wrote a program that can track how many times a song is traded on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as Kazaa Media Desktop or Napster. He knew this information would be highly valued by record industry execs and radio program directors, so Guy created a Web subscription service they can use to download information about the most popular content on P2P networks. Not only can WebSpins.com quantify the rampant song-trading, but the service also provides valuable research into what consumers want.

On a recent trip to a radio industry convention, Guy, 42, saw just how popular his service had become. "I was stopped by dozens of radio programmers and artist managers from around the country, and kind of felt a little like a rock star," he recalls. "I knew at that point my message was getting out, and it was well-received." It's been so well-received, in fact, that 2003 sales hit about $2 million.

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This article was originally published in the February 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smart Ideas 02/04.

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