Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers: The Next MTV?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers: The Next MTV?

Article excerpt

"WE BELIEVE THE newspaper industry is positioned to be the next MTV," said Wayne Parker, president, Music Previews Network. "The way you do that is with a great music service that is available via audiotex and the Internet."

"I want my MPN!" is what newspaper publishers and listeners around the country are saying. Music Previews Network (MPN) is owned by Atlanta-based MultiPreviews, LLC, and is the hottest new audiotex service for newspapers. MPN now has 500,000 listeners per month, and counting.

"Most newspapers don't have the time and resources to develop a really complete music service, so that is how we are trying to help them," said Parker.

It's so successful, it is already in 42 markets, including the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, Chicago Sun-Times, Ottawa Citizen and Newsday -- to name a few. MPN is also on seven Internet sites, including the Charlotte (N. C.) Observer and the Los Angeles Times,

Parker would like to be in 100 markets and on 30 Web sites by the end of the year.

"Our service is on a revenue sharing basis so there is no upfront cost to them, which newspapers like," he said. "And our audiotex service is available through Brite Voice Systems and Tribune Media, both major satellite vendors, as an automatic part of their service."

Part of the reason the service has been so successful, said Parker, is that it's easy for the newspapers, and from a marketing standpoint, a big ne work of newspapers is attractive to national advertisers.

For the audiotex service, MPN offers a three-minute music preview, which includes 15 to 20 seconds of information about the album and samples of five songs in 10 different categories, which include Hip Hop/Rap, Classical, Country and Rock.

"What we are trying to do is make sure we reinforce who the artist is," he said. "The newspaper is providing a free local call so it's easy to get to the music."

What makes the newspaper the next MTV is the audiotex and Internet combination. What MPN does is customize the page to look like the newspaper. For instance, on the Los Angeles Times Web site (http://www.latimes.com), if the reader clicks on Entertainment and clicks on the Jukebox, the page looks like the Times, but the reader is actually into MPN's server.

"The newspaper provides the graphs and we do things like add contests to win CDs," he said. "No matter where you came into the newspaper site from, you are eligible to enter the contest on that site."

MPN has Internet designers, most of which are contractors. According to Parler, MPN is well aware there are many different computers and modem speeds being used nationwide, so the company offers three ways to hear the music:.wav files, MPEG Audio 2.0.

"We have found that 40 percent use.wav files, 40 percent Real Audio and 20 percent use MPEG," he said. "The applets are available on the site for downloading, or there is a link to the site where they can be downloaded."

Video is also being discussed. Although MPN does not feature that yet, Parker says, "that's coming.... Then it will really be like MTV."

In the meantime, according to Parker, most of his clients have taken the audiotex/Internet package, which enables the newspaper to bundle the service as a package to sell to local music retailers.

MPN is producing a new preview every day; many are received in advance from the major record companies that work with MPN. …

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