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Old 04-06-2003, 09:14 PM   #1
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Fans are streaming online to watch music videos
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Default Fans are streaming online to watch music videos

By Jefferson Graham,USA TODAY

If you want to see the sexy new video from Russian pop duo T.A.T.U., you won't be able to find it on MTV.

The TV network has yet to add it to its playlist, but it's readily available online, where many videos are now being watched in major numbers.

MTV is showing fewer music videos in favor of full-length programs, and kids are spending more time online. The result: The dominant music discovery sites on the Web are experiencing dramatic increases.

"We're streaming 100 million music videos a month," says Dave Goldberg of Yahoo Music, which owns Launch (, where T.A.T.U.'s Not Gonna Get Us has been showing exclusively this week. "A year ago it was 15 million.

"What we're seeing is the abandonment of the medium by television, and it's being picked up by the Net."

Rival AOL Music on the America Online service says it streamed 80 million videos in March, up from 20 million a year ago. It was poised to offer Madonna's controversial new video, American Life, to its members Saturday — a day after its VH1 debut but two days before it went to MTV. The singer decided to pull it altogether, but she's still Artist of the Month on AOL, where second single Love Profusion will premiere (before it goes to radio or MTV) and the entire American album will be available for listening.

AOL Music is the top music destination, attracting 11 million U.S. users in February, according to Nielsen/Net-Ratings; Launch drew 8.1 million users. The discrepancy in Launch's higher numbers of video streams can be explained by its worldwide reach. It's available everywhere, while AOL can be accessed in only nine countries.

Both AOL Music and Launch offer extensive Internet radio stations, music news and free libraries of music videos, 1,000 at AOL and 8,000 at Launch. To watch, either search for your favorite artist or song, or choose from the popularity charts listed on the sites. also shows music videos online, and says they have 1,000 videos, but many are 30-second clips.

"Getting the top spot on AOL Music or Launch is like having your act on the cover of Rolling Stone, Saturday Night Live and MTV's Total Request Live all wrapped in one," says Interscope Records vice president Courtney Holt.

T.A.T.U.'s first video, All the Things She Said, was played on Launch and AOL weeks before the MTV television network added it, and Holt credits the online exposure for helping the act break out here.

"When an artist explodes online, it helps with every other avenue of a record's release," Holt says. "When traditional radio and press start hitting, there's already a familiarity for them, based on the initial online exposure. When we can point to tens of thousands, or millions, watching the T.A.T.U. video, it only helps with our story."

Katie Hurley, 15, of Hoboken, N.J., watches videos on AOL every night while chatting with friends. "You can watch while you're on the computer and do everything at once," she says. "AOL has a wider variety of music than MTV. If you want to pick something yourself, AOL has a big list of videos, and you can choose what you want to see."

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