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The Tripwire

| August 29, 2006 | 0 Comments
Free Enterprise

Back in the dark ages, before everyone and their brother had a blog pimping the hottest new MP3s of some yet-unheard of U.K. sensation or Stateside underground phenomenon, the Internet wasn’t commonplace for pedestrian music lovers to find new artists. However, it was a forum for industry heavyweights to drop new release dates before anyone else knew, hustle new A&R acquisitions, and predict what the next big thing would be among themselves thanks to an online think-tank operation mediated by the Cornerstone Marketing company:

At a time when it seems the online publishing industry is going gated, Thetrip has come along and flipped the script. This insider news Web site spent five years catering specifically to movers and shakers of the music industry. But this past March, in a move that defies the trend to charge for exclusive content, the site took down its velvet rope for the general music consumer. “Since day one Tripwire has been about music,” says the site’s executive editor, Robert English. “Now we want to embrace people out there who aren’t in the industry but still have total passion for music. These regular people have the ability to create buzz.”

Sharing The Love

Rather than remain a private playground for registered users, The Tripwire has opted to spread the love to a larger audience at no cost, all while maintaining über-hip credibility. “With the addition of features and more exclusive content we feel we can keep traffic on a higher mark by giving readers stuff they’ll never find anywhere else,” English says. “Whether it’s audio or video, we’re still sort of scratching the surface.”

Readers new to The Tripwire can find features written by artists like former Faith No More frontman Mike Patton or Metric’s Emily Haines as well as a new series of weekly podcasts featuring cuts from hot new bands.

An Elite Past

The Tripwire was first launched in August 2000 as a prehistoric blog of sorts with news posts that stirred an organic word-of-mouth campaign among a strata of users English refers to as “key cultural influencers” — radio programmers, music writers, and other industry players. “It was supposed to be another tool to get the word out on stuff we loved,” says Anthony Holland, chief operating officer of Cornerstone Promotion, the lifestyle marketing company that owns The Tripwire.

The campaign worked. The Tripwire gained a cult following of 6,500 loyal users from across the industry, becoming a successful online community alongside another of Cornerstone’s media properties — the “Cornerstone Player,” a music compilation of emerging artists that reaches 10,000 entertainment tastemakers 10 times a year.

Craig Tiede

To continue the story, pick up the September issue of Illinois Entertainer, available throughout Chicagoland.

Category: Features, Monthly

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