Sam Williams of the New York Post is reporting that The Sanctuary Group, a British investment firm that represents two of Ozzfest 2004's acts (JUDAS PRIEST and SLAYER), will be ringing up sales as a result of the continued success of the annual traveling heavy metal festival.While traditional labels have abandoned aging metal and "hair" bands such as SLAYER and JUDAS PRIEST, Sanctuary sees the promise of a loyal — and lucrative — fan base. By concentrating on T-shirt sales, DVDs and concert tours, as compared to the piracy-pummeled record business, Sanctuary made $270 million in revenue last year. Sanctuary's loyalty has earned it artist kudos, and it has tripled the number of bands represented since 2000, picking up 60 new acts. At the same time, the company launched the U.K.'s largest independent record label, Sanctuary Records. "It's a very clever business model," said Numis Securities media analyst Richard Hitchcock, one of many financial fans to hold up a lighter in glowing tribute. "They are trying to capture as much value from the music value chain in a way the major labels just haven't been able to do." Company CEO Merck Mercuriadis said he's only doing what all good record labels used to do: building a lifelong relationship between bands and their core audiences. "Our focus as an industry should be to develop talent that makes music a priority for the enthusiastic listener," Mercuriadis said. "You've got an entire generation, maybe two generations of product managers in the record industry that view marketing as something you do to support radio play." Read more.
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