Dave Matthews to Kick Off AOL 9.0

As part of a big marketing splash to coincide with Wednesday’s launch of the new
“AOL 9.0 Optimized,” America Online announced a
major freebie for its broadband subscribers — live video access to the Dave
Matthews Band’s Central Park concert.

The company said ‘AOL for Broadband’ subscribers would get VIP access to
“Dave Matthews Band in Central Park — The AOL Concert for Schools.” AOL
members with a dial-up connection would also get access to a live audio
broadcast of the event via the [email protected] service. A low-resolution video
stream for narrowband users would also be available, the company said.

The freebies are part of the company’s release of the new “AOL 9.0
Optimized” service, which has received upbeat
reviews
from analysts buoyed by the ISP’s dual strategy of building
broadband subscribers while managing the erosion of its dial-up base as
online audiences switch to high-speed services.

In addition to giving away access to the big Dave Matthews Band concert,
AOL said fans on the Web would also be able to access a live audio stream
from the AOL Web site. Select Infinity
Broadcasting stations across the country will also be broadcasting the full
concert live, the company said.

With a two-pronged plan to keep dial-up subscribers while offering a
carrot for broadband content, AOL has also purchased the entire press run of
the New York Post. On Wednesday, New Yorkers will receive a free
copy of the newspaper with a free CD-ROM insert containing the newest AOL
version.

The CD-ROM that comes with the New York Post giveaway will also
include a video for Dave Matthews’ “Gravedigger” alongisde two concert
videos, “Grace is Gone” and “Tripping Billies.”

AOL said the Dave Matthews Concert, sheduled for Wednesday evening in
Central park, will raise more than $1 million for schools in the Big
Apple.

The newspaper marketing push will also include free trials of the
MusicNet paid download music service.


— Erin Joyce contributed to this article.

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