In a small symbol of things to come, MTV Online — the Internet arm of the music video giant — will deliver its first-ever computer-borne “cybercast” concert, a 30-minute performance by Capitol Records recording artist Meredith Brooks that will precede next month’s 1997 MTV Video Music Awards program.
Brooks — whose single “Bitch” ran high up the charts this summer — will take the electronic stage at 6 p.m., about two hours before the start of the Sept. 4 awards show. The MTV cybergig will be carried to viewers watching through America Online (keyword: MTV) and on the World Wide Web, at http://mtv.com. “We’ve been looking closely at this technology for the past six months and we thought the Video Music Awards would be a great opportunity for viewers to get a feel for what multimedia has to offer,” said Allie Eberhardt, creative director for MTV Interactive.
MTV has partnered with Internet media companies VXtreme and Progressive Networks to provide the necessary technology. Before watching the cybercast, viewers will need to download the free user-side software from the Websites of those two companies.
After Brooks’ performance, the gig will continue with the awards ceremony, broadcasting video images from backstage, running chats between the recording artists and conducting audience polls, said Eberhardt.
Because of the limits of online telecommunications today, the quality of the cybercast still won’t match that of television.
“But we wouldn’t be taking this step if we didn’t feel there would be something here with this technology,” Eberhardt said. “We feel that now is the time to explore further.”