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History of Beastie Boy's Grand Royal Website

Initially Grand Royal's website was not unlike any other sites of small record labels. The site provided small snippets of biographical information about Grand Royal artists as well as a handful of concert dates if the act happened to be planning a tour. Sadly the look and content of the site's early versions was rarely updated even though new acts were continually being signed to the label. In fact, the earliest versions of the site were not at all reflective of just how much was going on at Grand Royal. At the time when the Grand Royal Magazine was really becoming its own, the site made little mention of its pressed and bound older brother. The only exception was that within the Grand Royal website a few features from the long out-of-print Grand Royal Issue #1 had been archived so the masses could see exactly what all the hype was about.

As the popularity of the label's artists grew, acts like the Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson and Ben Lee garnered their own domain name and space on the world wide web. As their individual website grew in size and complexity, the attention that they were given on the Grand Royal site diminished. Album release dates were about the only thing one could expect to find on . An excellent example of this came in the summer of 1998 when the Beastie Boys unveiled Hello Nasty. Grand Royal's site did little to gear up for the event and instead just directed fans to the band's official site By the end of 1998, Grand Royal realized that they had really missed a super opportunity and began to cater to the online music buyer.

The Grand Royal online store was an overdue enhancement to the Grand Royal site. Now fans could order Grand Royal releases on both vinyl and compact disc directly from the Los Angeles operation base. Thanks to a great marketing idea, the online Grand Royal store pre-sold a limited number of authentically autographed copies of Luscious Jackson's Electric Honey when it was released in 1999. The biggest criticism of ordering direct from Grand Royal was that it took literally months to get the merchandise. The reputation of being "slow to ship" held true when it came to ordering online as well, and unfortunately may have largely contributed to the label's demise.

By 1999 the Grand Royal Magazine was no longer being put out in its traditional format. So as a creative outlet, features that would have previously run in the magazine were now being added to the Grand Royal website. Realizing that the site was finally being updated regularly fans began to rediscover the site and flocked to the domain's diverse collection of message boards. One of the things that fans loved best about the new and improved site was the ability to stream Grand Royal's music library right through their computer speakers.

Although it would not become apparent until a year later, Grand Royal was suffering internally. Mike D had officially passed much of his responsibilities with the label over to Mark Kates, and went out on the road with his newly signed acts like At the Drive In to further promote the label. Often Mike D would go the extra mile and take time out of his schedule to do television and radio appearances to draw attention to one of the label's fledgling bands, but nothing seemed to stop the financial bleeding. Soon the end of Grand Royal as a label and as a website was eminent.

The future of a Grand Royal rebirth does not look good at this point. Stranger things have happened though; for example the Beatles did reform and reorganize Apple records long after its apparent failure as a record label. In the mean time fans should look to indie labels such as Matador Records and magazines like Giant Robot and $6.99/lb to fill the void that Grand Royal has left in our lives.

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