Infinity turning tune bows into hot 'Date'

Infinity wants to give CD releases the red-carpet treatment.

The radio broadcaster met with record execs in New York and Los Angeles last week to pose the following question: Why shouldn’t record releases get the same buzz as film and TV preems?

It’s a good question now that opening-week SoundScan numbers are becoming as important to the record biz as a boffo weekend for film or a ratings sweep for TV.

In order to make that critical first week count, Infinity is pitching a new program it calls “Street Date.”

Idea is to generate a tsunami of publicity starting two weeks before a release hits stores, including live interviews, listener contests and a long-form radio show modeled on VH1’s “Behind the Music.”

“What this does for the artist is create an event around the release date,” says Infinity topper John Sykes.

Record execs seem to be buying.

Capitol Record’s Craig Kallman thought the program could poach marketing dollars otherwise destined for mags or outdoor campaigns.

As Viacom’s poorest-performing division, Infinity is going to need it.

The fate of radio and the recording industry are tightly intertwined.

As Sykes is quick to point out, radio still influences the music consumer more than any other media.

Get ready for some heavy rotation.

– Michael Learmonth

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