I tried hard to be diplomatic, but the volume of hate mail and the truly bizarre comments about Burnlounge have driven me over the edge.
Previously, I posted that I did not feel that Burnlounge was a ripoff. It's a valid alternative to iTunes and other online music download stores. However, I noted that I wouldn't recommend that any of my clients pay any kind of signup or setup fee to open up their own Burnlounge store -- I think that artists have plenty of ways to grow revenue from fans without having to pay a Burnlounge reseller any kind of upfront or monthly fee.
Apparently, a lot of Burnlounge resellers took that as a direct attack on their livelihood. And, as a rule, you get judged by the company you keep. So, as long as Burnlounge lets their affiliates and "burn teams" or whoever run around making false accusations, I'm going to amend my previous statements by saying:
Seriously, though, I'm worried about what some folks are telling artists. One commenter claims that Burnlounge is the ONLY company that is monetizing the "band-to-fan" relationship.
How about Sellaband? Or CD Baby? Or even MySpace? If I whipped out my Rolodex, I could probably find a hundred other companies that are putting more actual dollars into the pockets of artists than any Burnlounge store.
I'm also hearing about Burnlounge reps telling artists that iTunes is actively kicking independent artists out of the iTunes Store. I call shenanigans. While it is true that iTunes does not work directly with indie musicians, anyone can get their music into iTunes by using a third party distributor, like CD Baby or even The Orchard.
For folks like Jason that claim I'm uninformed, I have worked with independent musicians for sixteen years. And, I can tell you, fans are not in any huge hurry to earn commissions or points or anything else to spread music. (This is also why so many points-based street teams fail.) They share music with friends because they love the music, not because they're trying to make five cents per download.
Most folks don't have the kind of free time that it would take to build a Burnlounge store into a profitable venture. If you do, then good luck with that. Nobody's going to stand in your way. But when folks have at least a dozen easier ways to get their hands on new music, you've got one heck of an uphill battle.