IQ News: Interscope Makes Online Music

Interscope Records, Los Angeles, today unveils its new Web home located at But unlike the label’s defunct original homepage, which simply featured publicity photos and artist bios, Interscope hopes to revamp the notion of record-label-site-as-vanity-project by focusing on its existing audience–including fans of such Interscope artists as the R&B group BlackStreet and The Wallflowers. It will also look to attract page views with an online store (opening early 1999) and a virtual jukebox with streaming audio and video clips from Interscope’s roster of 82 artists.
“This really isn’t just a music site, it’s going to be a cultural portal,” said Tony Nicosia, director of music services at Reset, the New York-based multimedia shop that designed the site. In addition to offering audio and video clips (via RealNetworks and QuickTime), Interscope plans to build their online fan community with weekly features like a “News and Band Information” page and “i on the street,” an area that highlights the best nightclubs and music venues across the country. That area will begin featuring clubs in Los Angeles and New York, with more cities added as the site continues to grow.
Interscope hopes to attract repeat visits with a rotating series of online goodies like an Arcade stocked with ever-changing ShockWave games and the AutoPilot Page, a digital gallery that showcases the art of photographers and graffiti artists.
“We’re encouraging our artists to get involved [with the site],” says Steve Rimland, head of new media at Interscope. According to Rimland, the site will offer chats and concert cybercasts in the near future, kicking off with a live chat and online focus group featuring BlackStreet producer Teddy Riley on Dec. 9. Thus far, Interscope has lined up partnerships with, among others, TicketMaster Online, Liquid Audio and CDnow.
While the online store will not sell CDs–Interscope’s distribution agreement with parent company Universal Records forbids it–Rimland says they will sell hard-to-find products and Interscope gear.
“The problem with a lot of music sites is that they only have information about their bands,” says Rimland. “But fans want more than just information.” –Kipp Chen