NEWS - Friday, March 17, 2006

Microsoft Teams Up With Epic

Microsoft and Epic Records forged a deal to highlight up-and-coming artists on the Epic label on Xbox Live, the online component of the software company’s gaming platform. One artist will be showcased each month for one year. The Artist of the Month (AOM) feature on Xbox Live will have free exclusive artist content and high-definition music videos. Through the Xbox Live Game with Fame program, Live subscribers can also enter a monthly sweepstakes to win a chance to play against the music label’s musicians. "We think by bringing two of the largest entertainment brands, music and games, will bring a benefit for gamers who will have the ability to get high-definition videos from Epic artists downloaded to their consoles," Microsoft Xbox Group Product Marketing Manager Aaron Greenberg told ClickZ News. "To be able to watch on-demand in HD [high definition] is an optimal experience." Both Microsoft and Epic will actively co-market the program online, in print and on their individual Web sites and newsletters. Microsoft will promote it on and in the Xbox Live newsletter. Epic plans to use its site as well as the showcased artist page each month. Microsoft said it will also tag the promotion for TV buys when appropriate. Last week Microsoft announced plans for a free Live Gold Weekend at the end of March. The free weekend and AOM program are aimed at growing the Xbox 360 installed base and increasing the number of subscribers to the Live online platform. The first artist in the AOM series is British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield. Her current single, "Unwritten," is reportedly the most downloaded pop song in Apple’s iTunes Music Store.


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