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internet music sales
For many independent music fans, the biggest complaint has always been that there is no good place to buy indie music. One can find a store that carries independent music in most major cities or college towns, but most towns do not have such a store. For this reason, the correlation between the success of independent music stores on the Internet and indie music's file-sharing explosion is not very surprising. While mainstream online music retailers like Music Blvd., CDNow and Tower Records have nearly bankrupted their parent companies, sites like indie music retailers Insound and Midheaven have done consistently brisk business; certainly, much greater business than either merchant would do without the benefit of the Internet.
Whereas, "in real life," a store that sells predominantly independent music is likely to bring in only the most adventurous of shoppers, online retailer Insound draws most of its customers in through banner ads linked from other sites, mostly of the independent music variety. The online independent music community often appears incestuous -- independent music publicity agencies may link to like-minded e-zines, e-zines to indie label sites, and label sites back to p.r. firms.
In the past, the only way for consumers to order from independent record labels was to do so via mail-order. Now, most indie labels have scrapped mail-order altogether in favor of online ordering methods. Not only can music fans sample new independent artists on the Internet, instead of depending on friends' mix tapes, but they can then order those records online without having to somehow track down the label's mail-order address.