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U music arm breaks trio of broadband programs

Musicvids, musicians and infomercial spoofs among offerings

Universal Music Group on Tuesday bowed three original online shows about music for those with broadband access to the Web.

“The Viewing Lounge” allows users to customize a block of musicvids; “I-View” offers four-minute behind-the-scenes docus on musicians; and “Music Spoof-o-mercials” presents a musical take on infomercials. In addition, a musicvid from a UMG band will also be spotlighted each week.

The shows can be found at MusicUWant.com.

“The demand for broadband continues to grow quickly, and music is the most compelling and utilized form of entertainment on the Internet,” said Larry Kenswil, prexy of Universal Music Group’s digital music division eLabs. “By offering original programming from top artists in a format built exclusively for fat pipes, we have taken the first step toward a commitment to establish Universal as the music industry leader for the next wave of the technological revolution.”

Click and buy

Each of the first three shows allows Netizens to buy copies of what is being hyped on the Webisode by clicking a button while it plays. For the time being, the music is being sold through GetMusic.com, although execs said digital downloads of the tracks are possible in the future. U’s bluematter project for secure digital downloads is a separate enterprise from the broadband site.

In addition, viewers can send excerpts of the shows to friends and sign up to receive e-mail updates on UMG performers.

Among the first musicians to participate in the initiative are Hanson, Common, Billie Myers and Lee Ann Womack. Execs said they wanted to roll out the broadband channel before college students return to campus, where broadband is the most prevalent.

“We’ve created interactive programming that goes beyond just watching videos at high bit rates,” said Lisa Farris, senior veepee of marketing at eLabs. “We’re excited to be working with such a diverse group of partners to offer consumers a new way of experiencing the artists and music they love while enabling them to customize their broadband viewing environment.”

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