Universal Music International (UMI) is aiming to extend its influence into the children's market through a pact with toy maker Mattel.

Universal Music International (UMI) is aiming to extend its influence into the children's market through a pact with toy maker Mattel.

Through the deal, UMI and El Segundo, California-based Mattel will launch Barbie-branded music compilations. The first in the series, "Barbie Girls," will be issued in Europe on Nov. 15. It will feature tracks by such artists as Christina Milian, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, S Club 7 and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. UMI says the project will be heavily backed with TV advertising.

Stan Roche, VP for TV marketing at UMI, explains that the deal exploits opportunities for both companies to cross-promote each other's products. "With Universal's ongoing strength in pop repertoire, we anticipate a long and fruitful relationship in developing this compilation brand with Mattel," he says.

According to UMI product manager Tim Ferrone, breaking Barbie as a compilation brand in Europe will be a priority for the company in 2004-2005.