The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on January 7, 2001 · 1245
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 1245

Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 7, 2001
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I riel INTERNATIONAL EDITION SUNDAY JANUARY 7 2001 WWWheraldCOm MTV2: Will it be a bigger better music-video ‘Box’? j I f r £: t ? r- r: i Emphasizing new acts MTV2 may boost sales for groups like Papa Roach above and Jurassic 5 below I MTV FROM 9C sible primarily to those with satellite television The new MTV2 thanks to its Box connection of 20 million or so homes is available to an audience estimated at about 30 million (MTV2 should appear on cable systems in The Box’s previous location) The timing is fortuitous since this merger comes on the heels of the biggest SoundScan week in history in which 454 million albums were sold in the single week closing on Christmas Eve topping last year’s 399 million figure If viewers take to the revamped channel it could provide yet another boost to the thriving music industry much as the original MTV did 20 years ago With its emphasis on newer acts like touted English pop-rockers Coldplay R&B soulstress Erykah Badu hip-hop’s Jurassic 5 techno’s Moby and alt-rockers At the Drive-In and Papa Roach MTV2 will provide needed exposure and may boost sales for unknown acts This could additionally prod record labels to invest in videos again something they’d been cutting back on because there were fewer outlets as MTV added nonmusic programming like The Real World and Daria and VH1 took to rerunning Behind the Music f episodes in prime time “This is more than anything a reflection of the success of MTV” says MTV2 president David Cohn who points out that younger audiences in the coveted 12-24 age group tend to go for a mix of videos and nonmusic programs while slightly older viewers opt for MTV sister station VH1 (MTV VH1 BET and The Box are all owned by the media conglomerate Viacom) MTV2 hopes to lure the core music fan who remembers MTV in the days of chatty VJs Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter as well as today’s video junkie looking for a fix of Fuel To attract viewers the channel isn’t above some hijinks Dunn points out that the channel aired Olivia New-ton-John’s 1981 video Physical (a time-capsule or a time-bomb depending on your taste) While still a small fry on satellite then M2 played Prince’s 1999 video for 24 hours straight (on New Year’s Day 1999 natch) and the next year aired every video in the MTV library in alphabetical order — an endeavor that took more than three months Two weeks ago MTV2 added six Beatles videos This isn’t as dated as it might sound considering the Beatles have had far-and-away the bestselling CD in the country for the past month “We don’t believe that if we took the MTV model 1981-’85 that we’d be successful” Cohn says “We have learned a lot in 20 years about how to package videos and to do programming around it Music video then was new it was the shock of the new We have to be better With no disrespect what we hope the biggest difference between MTV2 and the old MTV is that MTV2 will be good We are looking at the notion of interactive experiences as important to enhance the music video experience” HOMOGENIZATION? Enter The Box a network that made its name as an interactive channel tailored to individual communities For a fee viewers could select a video from a televised list and it would air shortly after The Box aired numerous black and Hispanic videos that often weren’t detected by conventional MTV or VHl’s radar Yet with The Box coming under MTV’s umbrella some industry insiders fear homogenization will set in “It doesn’t bode well for music fans For hip-hop it will be TLC and for urban it will be Jennifer Lopez — not particularly cutting edge” says Margee Fagelson a New York-based music media consultant “The Box had a lot of underground urban music” agrees Eric de Fontenay chief executive officer of the online media consulting and publishing organization Tag It “It was known as one of the stations to find videos that you couldn’t find on others All of this is under one house Viacom One company owns all the distribution channels for video music on cable — that’s disturbing” Box president Alan McGlade who will remain with the network and work from its original offices in Miami Beach along with many other Box employees suggests otherwise “You’re going to see a lot of music video like you did with The Box” McGlade says “It’s a really interesting concept You are going to continue to see The Box brand incorporated with the national MTV2 network feed” This means according to McGlade a wide range of music including R&B and rap rock and pop Any loss of control is outweighed by increased viewer-ship McGlade believes “A lot of networks consolidated One of the things important is to get critical mass and distribution This enables us to get there The Box had 20 million Nielsen homes MTV2 had 12 million now it’s a network of more than 30 million homes” New programs will include Control Freak patterned after The Box’s interactive component At various times of the day Control Freak airs a regular video and on a portion of the television screen a list of potential videos will flash Viewers can use their computers to vote online for the video they would like to see next The one with the most votes moves up in the queue and plays for free MTV2 Box Block similarly allows viewers to in effect program the channel Another show Fusion features real-time synchronized online content with the video currently airing For instance Green Day’s Warning could be airing on the TV and your laptop would be displaying material associated with the video such as a band bio discography tour information trivia album reviews and so on Think VHl’s Pop Up Video: The Next Generation “The technology for interactive television is evolving at a rapid pace” McGlade says “The new MTV2 combined with The Box will have a strong interactive component rooted in music this is a natural evolution” The merger is still so fresh that most record labels wouldn’t comment as to whether they plan to step up music-video production to fill the upstart outlet’s roster “We’ve been doing a round of label meetings to let them know what we are up to” MTV2’s Cohn 39 says “We hope they know what we’re doing Things spun out of control for a number of years labels were spending a lot of money for every song Some were getting lots of airplay some not and it was a waste of money The labels got smarter and more careful about whether they were going to make a video or encourage an artist to make one “There’s lots of music though We have plenty to play and as we talk to labels we encourage them to still be careful” NEW PERSONALITIES The station’s three VJs all in their upper 20s or early 30s were also patterned a bit after MTV’s original lineup — a little roughshod but enthusiastic and fanatical about music There’s New York radio DJ Chris Booker the rock music fan who will host the “more rock-oriented day parts” according to Cohn There’s Steph Lova also a DJ in New York and an alternative music and hip-hop devotee And of course there’s Dunn the 30-ish writer who stumbled into broadcasting She says her music taste is “schizo” running the gamut from hard rockers Led Zeppelin to jazz legend Miles Davis “Anything blaring in the back of the car” Dunn who wrote the recent Rolling Stone cover story on Madonna and her Music recalls “I guess that’s why I got into it my folks always said ‘Do what you love’ ” But on MTV2 on-air and behind-the-scenes it’s learn as you go "I have had no TV experience at all but decided to audition I was so nervous I got hives” Dunn says chuckling “A makeup artist would have to come spackle my hives But I guess I had whatever quality they wanted — keeping it real Really real “I mess up a lot and they allow me to keep it in I give kids across this great nation hope that they can be a VJ too because I’m not polished I don’t look like a model and apparently that’s what they like Kids are thinking ‘Damn I could do that!’ ” Dunn’s role on MTV2 will include on-air celebrity interviews from the channel’s Times Square headquarters and environs “We film in various locations in grungy bars or thrift shops” Dunn says “Bums will walk behind me customers doing their own thing It’s low-key” Her most memorable interview? Probably retro rocker Lenny Kravitz He gave her hives on the air “Lenny Kravitz one time kissed me in the middle of the interview) I got flummoxed and flustered and the hives came up and I lost my cool!” All in a day’s work Herald staff writer Alessandro Losciale contributed to this article Recalling the good old days of Faulkner and martinis I EPSTEIN FROM 9C nature of mankind’s tie to the written word IW'irww V mu - - $ Still regardless of how provocative his predictions or how trenchant his analysis of the floundering industry of today it is the memoir portion of Book Business that is its greatest delight Epstein’s career has been so wondrous and his ability to transmit the sense of adven- ture so effortless that it is impossible not to pine for the day when one could spot William Faulkner waiting for the A train at a subway stop in Greenwich Village or meet Edmund Wilson at the Princeton Club and sit down to find six martinis lined up none of them for you A section of particular interest is one in which Epstein discusses his most conspicuous failure: In the early 1990s he began a venture called The Readers’ Catalog an 800 number-based operation that allowed users to purchase more than 40000 books from an actual catalog mostly quality backlist items Substitute a computer screen for the catalog and a mouse for the 800 number and you have Amazoncom With no inventory and no retail overhead Epstein had assumed that as his business grew costs would decrease as a percentage of sales a standard assumption in a business model What he hadn’t planned on was that the average size of the orders about $25 to $30 would require extensive handling no matter how large the business The old garment joke “We lose money on every sale but we make it up in volume” is precisely what happened Before Jeff Bezos founded Amazoncom Epstein told him why Reader’s Catalog had failed Bezos ignored his elder’s advice and Amazon has since been plagued by the low-tech exigencies of a high-tech business Bezos should have listened to Epstein So should we all Lawrence Goldstone is a writer in Westport Conn His next book written with his wife Nancy is Warmly Inscribed: The New England Forger and Other Book Tales It will be published in the spring 11 11 Jl L! Tie eig IT E S 0 S I N I L F j F T jO A D ElA US S 1 L E'S P S R A E T Today’s Crossword Answers ohjt PUZZLE ON PAGE 11A A ' T i H S All Si kljUUAiel T H R 0 W I A M A TTa RATER! D E E P L A NN E AUNT N T R 0 S S N ER D U S ! A S S 5 1 A LI UNION PLANTERS BANK IWALOFART January 20th & 21st 2001 Lowe Art Museum University of Miami 10 am-5 pm 250 Juried Artists International Food Children's Art Classes Bill Ussery Motors Inc AUNION PLANTERS BANK HZALTHSOUTH Doctors' Hospital D Richard Mead Charitable Foundation She itfiami Herald el tern Herald BOWNE Empowlring Your Information- i 4 S yrr it Hi in A h n xxw w r - - - m m

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