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"The fans on AOL have always been there for me, so it’s great that I can do this concert for them. What a powerful way to reach millions of fans the night my record hits stores."
——Usher

AOL MUSIC PARTIES IN THE
HOUSE OF USHER

Online Giant Produces Concert/Live Broadcast, Promotes Single and Vid, Drives Pre-Orders

AOL Music is helping to Usher in another smash.

The online service has been pulling out all the stops to promote the silky soulster’s monster LaFace/ZLG album Confessions, with an exclusive Broadband Rocks concert, audio and video premieres and online pre-orders.

Of course, when AOL became involved, Usher’s album—his fourth—was still an Arista project, and the distinguished label goes out on a high note with the mega-selling debut. AOL partnered with Arista and artist management—Tommy Mottola and Usher’s mom, Janetta—for a marketing drive beginning in February.

The Broadband Rocks concert event—which allows AOL users to view the entire show, filmed at Webster Hall in NYC—was viewable live on release day (3/23). Area radio stations Hot 97, WBLS, Z100, Power 105 and WKTU gave away tix (admission was free, but tickers were required), as did the UsherWorld fan site. Label retail promotion and street team members, meanwhile, helped ensure the evening was a madhouse.

The show will be available on demand for AOL Broadband users for ten days. Dial-up users and those accessing other AOL properties (Netscape, AOL Instant Messenger and CompuServe) will have access one song. Audio of the show will also be accessible via [email protected] for Broadband and narrowband.

The show also served as a vehicle to raise awareness for children living with HIV/AIDS via the Keep a Child Alive organization.

"Usher is a world-class entertainer, and we are genuinely excited to bring him into such an intimate venue to perform for our members," said AOL Music VP/GM Evan Harrison on the eve of the show. "We at AOL look forward to getting this party crackulatin’. Did I use that term correctly?"

"The fans on AOL have always been there for me," goes a quote from the singer, "so it’s great that I can do this concert for them. What a powerful way to reach millions of fans the night my record hits stores."

AOL Music offered the track "Burn" as a First Listen, earning it 360k+ plays in 24 hours and over 3.9 million plays to date. The video for "Yeah," meanwhile, has been played more than 11 million times and soon became the #1 clip on the service. Usher has been the #1 most-queried artist on AOL for three weeks.

Here’s the bottom line, folks: Confessions has topped the list of CD pre-orders on AOL for the last two weeks.

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