"AOL has become a very significant player in the launch of our new videos and new music. They have a dedicated music audience and we can tell exactly how many people are tuning in."
——Jason Flom, Atlantic Records Group Chairman on AOL Music

AOL: YOU'VE GOT MUSIC

Online Service Reaches Out to Music Industry, Bolstering First-Week Sales
America Online used to be all about e-mail and Instant Messaging.

These days, it’s likely the place to find a major artist debuting their latest single and video.

Artists such as Usher, Nelly, Avril Lavigne, Josh Groban, 50 Cent and Rod Stewart have used AOL to create original programming designed to promote their latest albums.

Atlantic Records Chairman Jason Flom has said: "AOL has become a very significant player in the launch of our new videos and new music. They have a dedicated music audience and we can tell exactly how many people are tuning in."

AOL Music reached a total of 13.3 million unique montly visitors in September, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

AOL Music now releases three "Top 11" charts a week, including the top videos, top songs and the top tracks on the AOL Radio Network, all based on subscriber plays.

AOL's Network of Music properties including the AOL Music Channel, aolmusic.com, the AOL Radio Network, Netscape Music, Compuserve Music, ICQ Music and Winamp.com, but the chart does not include streams or downloads from MusicNet@AOL or Apple iTunes on AOL.

The AOL Music cross-promotion is precisely what Time-Warner had in mind when it joined together with the company, but that synergy never really bore fruit when Warner Music Group, since acquired by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and a consortium of investment groups, was part of the company. Now, the strategy is being used to bolster flagging subscriber numbers, lure more ad dollars and attract customers to its broadband service.

AOL Music General Manager Evan Harrison and Executive Director Music Industry Relations Jack Isquith, a veteran label exec for Epic Records, among others, have reached out to the industry in breaking new acts and boosting established ones.

Harrison’s stated goal is to "provide tangible value for AOL members and to attract advertisers."

Among the ideas that Harrison has employed to spiff up the site are Sessions ast AOL, a popular live webcast that has proven a boon for first-week record sales.

Usher’s exclusive AOL Music concert a day before the release of the CD helped generate sales of 1.1 million in its first week of release. Rod Stewart’s performance at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem resulted in his first #1 album debut in more than 20 years.

Site like AOL Music and Yahoo’s Launch, which reaches an estabimated 14.7 million music fans, have helped fill the void in airing music videos.

Added Harrison: "MTV is playing fewer videos and radio has become more challenged. The landscape has changed and we’ve created a must-see destination for artists."

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