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Yahoo Jumps Into Music-Video Game

In a bid to strengthen its standings in the online media market, Yahoo Inc. has launched new music video services, the Internet media giant revealed Tuesday.

"The music video is perfectly suited for the Internet because short-form programming is such a strength," said Jay Frank (search), head of Label Relations and Programs for Yahoo Music. "Increasingly, more and more record labels and consumers are coming to us as their primary place to access music videos (search) since there aren't so many shown on TV anymore."

Yahoo will offer customers two programs through its music portal, thanks to collaboration with a majority of the major record labels: StopWatch and Yahoo Music Premieres will be made available to highlight the company's experience and expertise in the e-music market.

Of these free services, Yahoo Music Premieres will offer exclusive online and world premiere videos from "highly recognizable" artists on a daily basis. Many videos will be worldwide exclusives where Yahoo Music will be the only place viewers will see them (for at least 24 hours), while others will be exclusive online, according to a company representative.

StopWatch, on the other hand, will maintain a focus on little-known talent and emerging artists by serving up personalized recommendations.

"StopWatch enables us to find the newest videos, target our exact users, get it out to them and expose people to new music in ways TV couldn't touch," Frank said.

"Basically we're laying down the gauntlet," said Yahoo Music representative Paul Armstrong (search). "Yahoo Music is a lot of things for a lot of people. One thing we've always been credited for is providing things that people are specifically asking for."

As of late, customer demand has been leaning toward personalized content and exclusive access to new music. Internet media providers could potentially use this information to reach out to a new and growing online audience.

Frank credits the popularity increase in downloadable e-music videos to the current state of affairs in television.

"Television outlets are not playing music videos anymore, and it's becoming harder for consumers to find new videos on TV," he said. "These new programs are a dawning into the next phase of the new era of music videos having a home online, instead of their former home in television."

With these new services, Yahoo says it wants to show consumers that music labels have faith in them and that Yahoo Music is the No. 1 site they'll launch videos through.

In addition, Yahoo expects the music industry to use its newest programs to promote artists online and provide viewers with videos right away, rather than having to wait for them to surface on the Billboard Charts, a company representative said.

"We can excel at our ability to hit both a passive and active music consumer," said Frank. "We'll get those active types that bookmark our site to come back often and check up on what's coming out that day. However, we'll certainly have our passive users, so we'll also feature artists in weekly newsletters and more."

Both services are available through Yahoo's music portal, enabling viewers to watch the streaming content online. Neither service will offer instant on-demand options, although the videos will become available as "to-go" purchases on Yahoo Music once they've premiered, according to Armstrong.

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