Madonna taps fans for MP3 release

Monday marked the first time pop singer Madonna's music went out digitally to her legion of Net fans--and with the move, the Material Girl broke a little new online ground for major artists. Madonna is selling her new antiwar single, "American Life" on her Web site, charging $1.49 for the download of a high-quality, wholly unrestricted MP3 file. Her publicists started taking preorders a week ago, and in a novel move for a high-profile recording artist, enlisted fans to help sell the single on their own Web sites.

The so-called Madonna Project program--drawn directly from Amazon.com's and other Web sites' affiliate strategies--saw banners and advertisements for the single pop up on fan Web pages and blogs last week. Sites whose advertisements resulted in sales of the single would get credit toward Madonna prizes and merchandise. "The Madonna Project is a top-secret initiative to revolutionize how music is distributed on the Web, and Madonna wants you to join," the singer's site read last week. "The more singles sold through your site or links, the better your chance to win a pat on the back, a gold star and some serious Madonna prizes."

The release of a high-quality, unrestricted MP3 single online marks a significant turnaround for Madonna, and helps underline how far the big record labels have come in their steps toward online distribution.

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News source: c|net

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