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BET Interactive Signs BMG to Promotional Deal

Beginning this week, BET Interactive will promote artists and recordings from global music giant BMG Entertainment, through its first strategic marketing arrangement with a major label.

BMG, the global music division of multimedia conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, will use the urban and African-American portal to host pre-release music, exclusive interviews, and other content through the deal, of which financial terms were not disclosed.

Accordingly, 360HipHop.com and BET.com will feature listening parties and promotional contests, chats, and interviews with BMG artists including Arista's Run DMC and model-turned-rapper Tyrese.

The deal marks the first time that a music company has signed a strategic marketing agreement of this kind with BET Interactive, which is partially owned by Viacom.

"BET.com's music strategy is dedicated to developing synergistic opportunities by providing the most comprehensive promotional platform for record labels and artists," said Leyla Turkkan, vice president for music development at BET.com.

"As an Internet company with a network component, BET.com creates a complete interactive and convergent music experience for all audiences," she added. "BMG is one of the most important music groups in the world and has assembled a stellar new media team with a vision."

During the next several months, BET Interactive will highlight artists including Arista's Run DMC, RCA's Tyrese and J Records' Alicia Keys.

360HipHop.com began hosting a "world premiere listening party" for Run DMC's upcoming release "Crown Royal," two weeks before the album will appear in stores. Users also will be encouraged to pre-order the album and to enter a contest for an autographed Run DMC catalog.

In addition to online promotions, BET Interactive's parent network BET will use on-air crawls and host mentions to promote the Run DMC launch on the sites.

Another contest on BET.com will debut Tyrese's upcoming album "2000 Watts" by promoting the first single, "I Like Them Girls," before the album is available in stores. Beginning this week and continuing until April 11th, users also can enter on the site to win a trip to Disney World to see Tyrese perform.

In coming months, BET.com also will launch and internally promote a commercial documentary of BMG artist Alicia Keys.

"BMG is proud to have partnered with BET.com for these exciting online and offline promotions," said Evan Harrison, senior director for online marketing at BMG. "This partnership marks our dedication to bring artists and their music closer to their fans and at the same time, provide exposure of our artists in new and exciting ways."

For some time, BMG has been pursuing online marketing agreements with minority-focused Web sites. Last year, it inked a deal with Spanish- and Portuguese-language portal StarMedia and made investments in African-American entertainment site Urban Entertainment, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender portal PlanetOut.com.