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AOL synergies for ‘Smallville’ CD

Comic book, 3-D map of town bonused in music mix

AOL TW’s entertainment and publishing divisions are striking their most thorough synergistic project yet with the Feb. 25 release of the soundtrack to “Smallville.”

Elektra, part of the Warner Music Group, will release “Smallville Soundtrack: The Talon Mix” featuring music by artists whose music has been or will be used on the Warner Bros. show, which covers Superman/Clark Kent’s high school years. The Feb. 18 episode of the show will feature Elektra act Steadman performing at a fund-raising event where the CD is being sold.

“Bringing in the element of somebody creating a compilation is a great way to gently bring in the idea of a soundtrack within the narrative of the show,” said Brian Cohen, senior VP of marketing for Elektra. “It has never been done.”

Extras for CD buyers

Through special CD key technology, the disc will provide access to a host of online bonuses, including the first issue of DC Comics’ “Smallville” comicbook, a 3-D interactive map of the town of Smallville and videos of live performances by “Smallville” musical contributors VonRay and Remy Zero.

America Online will host an exclusive online listening party for the album and provide access to chapters in upcoming “Smallville” books published by AOL TW’s Little, Brown unit.

The first single from the album was VonRay’s track “Inside Out,” which the band performed on the Nov. 12 seg. Elektra will release VonRay’s debut album in the spring.

Other Warner Music acts on “The Talon Mix” include Sixpence None the Richer and the Flaming Lips. Other artists on the soundtrack are Weezer, Ryan Adams, Lifehouse, Five for Fighting, Phantom Planet, the late Eva Cassidy and AM Radio.

“The soundtrack is representative of music on the show,” said Lewis Goldstein, co-president of marketing for the WB. ” ‘Smallville’ has a lot broader audience than our other shows — this show is our most evenly divided between the sexes. The artists on the soundtrack are more commercial as opposed to the eclectic mix on ‘The Gilmore Girls’ soundtrack, which is a much narrower album. This is one more extension of one of our best shows.”

The WB has been a favorite for labels looking to place music in TV shows because album covers of artists featured in shows are displayed in the final credits. During February sweeps, the soundtrack album will be among those showcased. Also, execs from the label, network and studio see the show’s age demographic as the ideal CD-buying crowd.

Sony’s soundtrack for “Dawson’s Creek” is the bestselling soundtrack related to a show on the WB. Realizing that soundtracks are a tough sell currently, Cohen estimated that about 1% of the show’s audience will purchase the CD in the first month of its release. Most weeks, “Smallville” has almost 7.5 million viewers.

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