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image of David LawrenceA look at an alternative way to fill out your rosters, what Katrina might affect the eTracks charts (and your labels) and more, all in the FML Insider.

Hey... it's your Commish, and I'm subbing for Dean who's catching up on some much needed rest after participating in the creation of several babies lately. OK... it's been a couple of years, but he needs some sleep. So, I wanted to jump back in a look at some basics when it comes to setting up your roster here at the FML.

I discussed on the show the other night that lots of people play this game with anything but commerce in mind. They play it not to win or to be rankied high in the standings, but to show loyalty to their favorite artists. And that's great. Now... if you really want to win the game (aside from the main requirement of actually registering your labels, which is the only way to play for the big prizes), you have to resist this urge to support your favorites.

The big labels are populated by the most fickle people in the universe. If you're on their team, then you rock. If you're not, you don't get the time of day. And it's not about likeability for them, it's about making the cash register ring. If you're a great guy and you sing great and you make a great show but sell far too few CDs and downloads, then the door rapidly becomes your exit strategy. You could, conversely, be the biggest pain in the world to work with, a tool when it comes to interpersonal skills, and a jerk to the very people who serve your cause, but if you sell that music, no one gives a rat.

You can learn something from this.

If you really want to win this game, you have to combine basic business skills with your love of music. Use those math and management tools you've honed to determine which of your stars are going to make the cash for you, whether you actually like their body of music or not. And, listen carefully to that music which is really successful, and judge those bargain-priced debut artists accordingly. If you hear the makings of the next Green Day or Kelly Clarkson or Toby Keith or Black Eyed Peas in them, then pull an Artist Swap for the least likely to perform of the artists you have, and give that new artist a chance. That's the perfect combination of art and commerce.

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Hurricane Katrina is having not only an effect on the population in the Gulf Coast, it could easily affect, in either a negative or positive way, the sales of artists that participate in the various benefit concerts that have occurred or are slated for the near future. Kanye West is making the most of his amazingly insensitive remarks about President Bush hating black people, riding the crest of publicity on that little stunt right on to the Ellen show and on the nightly entertainment reports. He got booed at an NFL game, and the move could cost him standing on the eTracks if online stations and outlets choose to distance themselves from him. On the other hand, it didn't seem to hurt R. Kelly at all that he was brought up on charges of having sex with a minor, so it could actually benefit West's position.

Back with more next week!

-- David Lawrence