Capitol Records And Radiohead Create First Instant Message "Buddy" In Music History

By | April 26, 2001 at 12:00 AM

ActiveBuddy Inc., the messaging industry’s foremost provider of interactive agent technology, and Capitol Records today announced an agreement to build branded interactive agents.

Capitol Records will deploy the technology to promote its artists and new album releases beginning with a Radiohead-branded interactive agent. Capitol Records plans to launch the Radiohead agent as part of its global marketing campaign for “Amnesiac,” the Grammy Award-winning band’s fifth album, due for release on June 5.

Through ActiveBuddy’s technology, Radiohead will be the first band to provide exclusive Radiohead content directly to its fans through instant messaging. The Radiohead agent will be the most thorough and comprehensive source online and offline for accessing exclusive information and services related to the band and to the album.

“The Radiohead custom buddy is a fun, new and compelling way to deliver exclusive Radiohead music and information to their fans,” said Robin Bechtel, head of New Media for Capitol Records. “By doing it through instant messaging, which is already an incredibly popular way to communicate, fans can get information about their favorite band as easily as chatting with friends.”

In direct contrast to the band’s notorious press shyness, Radiohead has long been one of the most proactive musical entities on the Web, especially in terms of fan outreach.

Prior to the release of last year’s platinum-plus Grammy-winning “KID A,” band site Radiohead.com would feature spontaneous recording and tour diary entries, and even the occasional unannounced streaming audiovisual performances of new material. With the creation of the Radiohead interactive agent, the band once again takes advantage of technology to enhance and expand its relationship with its fans.

The Radiohead agent will reside on a user’s Instant Messenger buddy contact list. The agent will be able to recognize and respond to natural language questions and requests for information about the band and “Amnesiac.” Tour dates, song lists, artists’ bios, album credits, purchasing information, contact information, current Web-site information and other album-related material will be available.

Capitol Records has also enlisted Radiohead’s fans to determine what other content should be included. Additionally, the service will provide other entertainment-related content areas, such as music news and horoscopes.

“Capitol Records is the first to benefit from using ActiveBuddy’s custom-built interactive agent technology to market one of their artists through instant messaging,” said Peter Levitan, chief executive officer of ActiveBuddy. “The Radiohead interactive agent is a great early example of how companies like Capitol Records can leverage IM to extend their relationships with their customers into the fastest-growing segment of the Internet.”

About ActiveBuddy

ActiveBuddy develops and markets interactive agents that deliver a wide range of personalized content and applications via PC-based instant messaging and wireless messaging platforms. ActiveBuddy(TM) interactive agent technology is designed for use by instant messaging networks, advertisers, the enterprise, and content and service providers across all platforms that support instant messaging.

Founded in March 2000, ActiveBuddy is based in New York and Sunnyvale, Calif. Principal investors are Wit SoundView Ventures and Reuters.

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