EA tuning up game deal

Cyberbiz Brief

Vidgame giant Electronic Arts has created program EA Trax to tie together exclusive music from top acts with its sports-related titles. The program’s first single will be from Bon Jovi, whose “Everyday” is appearing on EA Sports’ best-selling “Madden NFL 2003,” which hit store shelves this week. Other artists include Andrew WK, Snoop Dogg, Papa Roach and Method Man. Among the labels licensing songs are Interscope, MCA, Capitol, Island/Def Jam, Electra, Atlantic, DreamWorks and Lava.

EA, the world’s largest independent vidgame company, plans to do co-promotions, release parties and other special events with the artists’ record companies, and to release soundtrack CDs from its games. Deals give labels a different way to get their songs heard repeatedly by an audience whose demographics are close to those of the bands themselves, reaching fans without depending on inclusion in increasingly narrow radio playlists.

“Games are a great outlet for breaking artists,” said Atlantic Records VP of marketing Lee Stimmel. “The time people spend playing these games is enormous, and the number of impressions a new song can make is in the hundreds of millions.”

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