James Blunt, Antigone Rising among first acts.
James Blunt, the Low Millions, Antigone Rising and other emerging artists are getting an online shot from radio's largest company. In the latest chapter of its evolving Web strategy under former America Online exec Evan Harrison, Clear Channel has added on-demand programming to station Web sites to showcase music from new and developing artists.
Working in tandem with participating record companies, the radio behemoth will spotlight 16 artists each quarter from the pop, rock, adult contemporary, country and R&B genres. An artist-produced "home video," five streaming tracks and a link to the artist's Web site will be available from Clear Channel station Web Sites.
Additionally, the company has partnered with GargageBand.com. Five streaming tracks, a photo and bio from 50 artists from the unsigned band Web site will also be posted on station sites, along with a link to the GarageBand.com Web site.
A third component involves a single streamed track, photo, bio and Web site link from additional signed artists.
Dubbed "New!" the company says the musical discovery outlet will encompass nearly 100 signed and unsigned artists and be promoted both online and on-air. Atlantic, Capitol, Columbia, Def Jam, Lava, Manhattan, RMG, Rounder, Sony BMG, Virgin, Warner Bros. and Wind-up are among the labels participating in the program.
Not all of the artists showcased will go on to receive radio airplay. "That is the design of the program," Harrison, the executive VP who heads the company's online music and radio division, told Billboard.biz. "We didn't want to choose all artists who are going to be radio successes. We want to extend our playlist by using the Web site."
James Blunt, for example, featured on the cover of Billboard magazine, currently receives scant airplay. "Stations who may not be ready to play James will have an easy time telling listeners he is on the Web site," Harrison says.
The "New!" online showcase will get an additional boost from a guest DJ radio program of the same name expected to launch at the end of the month. A star host will pick and play "a couple of their favorite new artists and the show will be used to promote what's on the Web site," Harrison says. Franz Ferdinand will launch the first episode.
-- Additional reporting by Brian Garrity