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New Site Takes Stock Market Approach to Digital Music Vending

September 4, 2008 11:44 AM ET

New digital music site Popcuts has adopted an interesting, stock market-like method to lure people toward its service. When you buy an artist's song for 99 cents, you're immediately invested in that track. If the song continues to sell to other users, you're awarded money to your account. The earlier you purchased the song, the higher percentage you get to the buyers who bought it after you. In the long run, Popcuts hopes you can turn that money earned into actual cash, but as the site is still in its infancy, it can only offer credit towards future song purchases. "We thought that by providing this extra incentive to buy a song legally, namely, owning a stake in that song, would make it more attractive to buy," said co-founder Hannes Hesse of his Berkley, California-based site. Popcuts takes in a 10-20 percent cut of each purchase, then leaves it to the artist to decide their own percentage. From there, the rest of the earnings go towards the users' accounts. It's an interesting strategy, but it's currently being utilized on a bare bones catalog of 200 obscure artists and roughly 700 songs, with their biggest seller right now being Red Light Knights' "3 Way Highway." Popcuts hopes to expand its library with non-exclusive deals with more distributors and record labels in the near future.

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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