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MTV Adds Web Element to Preview Week

Spankin’ New Music Week, MTV’s annual weeklong hypefest to promote the music industry’s biggest fourth-quarter releases, comes with a new Internet spin this year.

In addition to the usual on-air programing blitz filled with artist appearances and live performances – running Nov. 8-15 – the network will offer viewers the opportunity to hear new albums by Britney Spears and others in their entirety online at mtv.com before they hit stores.

MTV is making the music available as part of its online album preview feature, the Leak.

Beginning Nov. 10, new albums from Spears, Blink-182, Enrique Iglesias, Pink and G-Unit will be previewed on mtv.com as part of the network’s inaugural Leak Week. A new album will be available for free streaming in its entirety Monday through Friday of Spankin’ New Music Week.

Each artist will also perform live that week on “TRL,” the network’s flagship program.

For MTV, which has been offering viewers exclusive online album previews through the Leak since May, the new feature of Spankin’ New Music Week is a sign of its increasing role in MTV’s joint on-air/online strategy of helping artists and labels launch new albums.

Leak promotions are being tied into larger campaigns between the network and the labels to generate buzz for new records ahead of and immediately after their release.

MTV has done almost 20 Leak promotions at this point, and traffic numbers for the previews have been substantial.

Leaks for Dashboard Confessional, Ashanti, OutKast, John Mayer and Madonna have all boasted close to 1 million streams in the weeks the albums were available through mtv.com, MTV says.

MTV executives point out that each of those albums has charted in the top five of the Billboard 200.

However, with the industry in dire need of hits this holiday season, the availability of “can’t-miss” product for full, free preview in advance of its sales date represents a gamble on the part of labels.

A primary difference between the Leak and other online album-preview-initiatives is the promotion muscle put behind it. MTV plugs the Leak through commercials and on-air plugs during shows like “TRL.”

As for Spankin’ New Music Week, MTV will debut as many as 10 new videos, including those of Nelly, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Good Charlotte. Missy Elliott, Kid Rock, Nick Lachey, Puddle of Mudd and P.O.D. also will make appearances.

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