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Tonos, AOL in music duet

Promos include song contest with Jackson

This article was corrected on May 1, 2002.

Music Netco Tonos, which provides services and advice to developing artists, has inked a deal to distribute its wares across the massive user base of America Online.

Tonos and AOL Music will offer the Internet service giant’s 30 million-strong membership access to Tonos’ artist development services, including evaluation of demos by the company’s inhouse A&R department and potentially major-label execs.

“They’re working with people whom they would never normally be able to get to,” co-founder Carol Bayer Sager said in an interview. “The sum total of our Rolodexes is what allows us access” she added, referring to Tonos’ stakeholders, including producers Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds and David Foster.

Tonos also will offer AOL members advice and articles from industry luminaries, recording tools and online communities for artists to network, she said.

In addition, the Netco will produce promotions that will run on AOL, starting with a contest to write a song that will be recorded by Michael Jackson. Proceeds generated by the winning recording will be donated to children’s charities.

Tonos, founded in April 2000, recently moved to a pay-subscription model, as the market for online advertising and commerce faded. Topper Justin Herz won’t share current subscriber numbers but said the company is “on track” for a total of 20,000 to 25,000 members by year’s end.

Still, he admitted that there was a “significant change” in the size of the company’s audience with the switch to subscription. The deal with AOL could help reverse that trend.

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