JIMMY AND DOUG'S FARM CLUB CREATES A WORLDWIDE RECORD LABEL FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
JIMMY AND DOUG'S FARM CLUB HARNESSES THE STRENGTH OF THE INTERNET, CABLE TELEVISION, AND THE UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP TO CREATE A WORLDWIDE RECORD LABEL FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
Universal, America Online, USA Networks, Inc. & MTV Networks join the Farm Club
New York, NY, November 9, 1999 -- Jimmy Iovine, Co-Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, and Doug Morris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Music Group (UMG), today announced the formation of Jimmy and Doug's Farm Club, a new record label which will uniquely harness the strength and reach of the Internet, cable television, and UMG. With its "headquarters" on the Internet at FarmClub.com, Jimmy and Doug's Farm Club will put a record label in every town -- allowing artists to have direct contact with major record executives by digitally submitting their recordings, obtain professional A&R input and feedback from music fans, be showcased on a weekly television show on USA Network, and secure a major recording contract.
Farm Club, a subsidiary of Seagram's Universal Music Group, has strategically aligned an unprecedented array of forces to discover, develop, and market musical careers; including America Online, USA Networks, Inc., MTV Networks, and Sprite.
Farm Club - The Farm Club process will begin at FarmClub.com which will serve as the label's A&R source as well as its first line of marketing, promotion, and entertainment. Artists will upload their music and have the opportunity to compete for a major record contract. The site creates a community of artists, music fans, and Farm Club professionals who will collaborate to discover the music of tomorrow.
Farm Club is an independent, self-contained record label that has been designed and fully staffed specifically to maximize the multi-media nature of the company.
Universal Music Group -- Universal Music Group, the global music leader, will help market and distribute Farm Club releases throughout the world. When artists are chosen for a record contract, their recordings will be marketed and promoted through both the Internet and traditional record label resources: artists get the full benefit and support of both on-line and "bricks and mortar" distribution.
America Online, Inc. - American Online, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) will provide the Farm Club with significant integration and carriage on AOL, the world's leading interactive service with over 19 million members, and AOL.COM, AOL's popular Web-based destination. In return, AOL will receive significant offline cross-promotion and exclusive content from Universal and the Farm Club, and will also take a minority stake in the Farm Club.
USA Networks, Inc. - USA Network, the #1 rated basic cable network in prime time, will broadcast a weekly one-hour program called "FarmClub.com," immediately following the World Wrestling Federation's "RAW/War Zone," taking advantage of a lead-in audience averaging 6.6 million viewers weekly (4,575,000 homes). The program will showcase artists signed to the Farm Club as part of the competition for a record contract as well as segments that highlight a behind-the-scenes look at the bands, their lives, and their communities. The program will also feature appearances from today's most popular acts. An essential aspect of the television program will be its interactivity with the FarmClub.com web site.
MTV Networks - MTV Networks and MTVI, the Internet's #1 portfolio of music web sites including VH1.com, Sonicnet.com and MTV.com, have entered into a strategic cross-promotional alliance with the Farm Club to have the artist communities section on the MTV web site, MTV.com and Sonicnet.com linked to the Farm Club to enable interested artists to compete for a major record deal. MTV will also feature the Farm Club charts of top ranking artists on their Total Request Live (TRL) web site, TRL.com, where music fans will be able to vote for their favorites. MTV will additionally announce the winners of the record deal on TRL on the MTV cable network.
Sprite -- Sprite, America's fastest growing soft drink, will also serve as the flagship sponsor for Farm Club.
"Farm Club is guerilla record making," commented Mr. Iovine, who will serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jimmy and Doug's Farm Club. "We will be tapping into music and the creative process at its purest form. It's giving the record business something it's always desired -- to find talent and reach its audience in the most personal and undiluted way. This record company will live and breathe anywhere. For the first time, fans and musicians have a direct effect on the music that will be available in the marketplace."
"I believe that in the future the majority of music that becomes commercially available will be auditioned and discovered through the Internet," added Mr. Morris. "The reach of the Farm Club surpasses any traditional A&R capabilities, dramatically increasing the opportunities for artists wherever they may live. Farm Club offers direct access. This is a moment in time which offers a new and level playing field for musicians around the world. To incorporate a traditional television show to work in conjunction with the FarmClub.com site not only will fertilize the traditional brick and mortar retailer, but will create an interaction between the Internet and traditional broadcasting. FarmClub.com puts a record company in every town."
"This project is tangible evidence of how best to leverage the power of the world's largest and foremost music company to create a new paradigm for the music business - a paradigm designed to revolutionize and centralize the process of discovering new musical talent," said Edgar Bronfman, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Seagram Company Ltd. "In addition, this venture provides UMG with two unique forms of value creation - a new stream of revenue from advertising and a direct interface with music consumers. The Universal Music Group -- with its unmatched leadership position in all music genres, A&R, local repertoire and distribution -- is aggressively exploring ways to capitalize on the growth opportunities created by the Internet. Initiatives such as the Farm Club will reinforce our leadership position in attracting and retaining the world's best musical talent and will, ultimately, help in delivering a high rate of growth for Seagram."
"Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris are true innovators in music, and with their leadership the Farm Club is positioned to take music to the next level," said Bob Pittman, President and Chief Executive Officer, America Online, Inc. "The interactive industry is all about community and giving people the opportunity to connect and communicate with others. The Farm Club will become a centerpiece of AOL's music offering, providing musicians around the world a chance to have their music heard and reviewed by an audience of millions and potentially a recording executive. The Farm Club is an exciting new way for bands to find a listening audience, and a unique opportunity for AOL members and visitors to AOL.COM -- the largest consumer base in cyberspace -- to play a role in the future of music."
Tom Freston, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, MTV Networks, said, " The Farm Club is truly a fresh and innovative concept and we certainly support anything that can create excitement around new music on the Internet. We see this as a terrific cross-promotional partnership between our web sites and the Farm Club."
"Music is the language of teens, so the Farm Club offers a perfect match for our brand Sprite," said Steve Koonin, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Coca Cola USA, "The opportunities within our relationship with Universal will provide unique and exciting marketing programs for Sprite such as music giveaways using newly discovered talent in our advertising as well traditional sponsorships of the TV show and web site."
The Farm Club web site will offer musicians the ability to interact with each other in a dynamic on-line environment through chat rooms and bulletin boards (which will include areas for producers and engineers). It will also provide "musician services" covering such areas as finding a manager, booking clubs, and purchasing and trading instruments and equipment. Visitors to the site will be able to get a direct look into the workings of a major record label through ongoing programming such as "A&R Insights," which will include audio reviews and commentary on posted songs from music industry experts. The web site will officially launch February 1, 2000 and will begin accepting artists' submissions December 1, 1999, with a revolving cross section of the uploaded music available for visitors to hear.
In this proprietary new venture, AG Brand Consulting, the premier branding consultancy, and its interactive unit Surge, under the direction of Chairman Peter Arnell, will spearhead the vision of Mr. Iovine and Mr. Morris to help realize all aspects of branding, interface design, marketing, and communications.
The development of this cutting edge web site is being provided by US Interactive and its Chairman and Co-Founder Eric Pulier.
Mr. Iovine and Mr. Morris are two of the recording industry's most respected executives, known for signing and developing some of the most popular artists of the past three decades. In addition to their roles with Farm Club, they will remain in their current executive positions within the Universal Music Group.
For Mr. Iovine, Farm Club is the latest venture in a career driven by developing new artists, both as an executive and as one of the industry's most successful producers. He founded Interscope Records in 1990 and has used this company as a platform to champion cutting edge artists like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, No Doubt, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Twice voted Producer of the Year by Rolling Stone, Iovine has produced records for U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Patti Smith, and the Pretenders. Prior to that, he was an engineer, working with John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen, among others. Mr. Iovine was the producer of the first two "A Very Special Christmas" albums, which raised more than $48 million for the Special Olympics.
One of the most renowned music executives in the business, Mr. Morris is also a noted songwriter and producer, whose credits include writing the Chiffons' 1966 hit "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and producing such hit records as Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room. During his 17-year association with Warner Music as head of ATCO, Atlantic Records, and, eventually, Warner Music U.S. He was responsible for signing, developing and/or working with such artists as The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos and INXS, among many others. While at Warner Music, Mr. Morris was also responsible for creating the joint venture to form Interscope Records. In 1995, Mr. Morris became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group and founded Universal Records, one of the most successful start-up labels ever.
Universal Music Group is the world's leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 59 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels A&M, Blue Thumb, Decca Record Company, Def Jam, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, GRP, Impulse!, Interscope, Island, MCA, MCA Nashville, Mercury, Mercury Nashville, Motown, Philips, Polydor, Universal, and Verve as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world.
Universal Music Group is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global entertainment and spirits and wine company.
Founded in 1985, America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world's leader in interactive services, web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services. America Online, Inc. operates: two worldwide Internet services, America Online, with more than 19 million members, and CompuServe, with more than 2.2 million members; several leading Internet brands including ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Digital City Inc.; Netscape Netcenter, AOL.COM portals; Netscape Navigator and Communicator browsers; AOL MovieFone, Spinner Networks and NullSoft, Inc. Through its strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems, the company develops and offers easy-to-deploy, end-to-end e-commerce and enterprise solutions for companies operating in the Net Economy.
USA Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: USAI) is a diversified media and electronic commerce company with assets that include the following: USA Network; SCI FI Channel; Studios USA; USA Films; USA Broadcasting; Home Shopping Network; Ticketmaster; USA Electronic Commerce and Services and USA Networks Interactive, which includes the Hotel Reservations Network (www.hoteldiscounts.com), SCIFI.com, USAnetwork.com, and the Internet Shopping Network, whose primary services are FirstAuction.com and FirstJewelry.com. The company also owns a controlling interest in
Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, Inc., (NASDAQ: TMCS) a leading internet provider of local content and online transactions (www.ticketmaster.com and www.citysearch.com).
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc., owns and operates the cable television programming services MTV: Music Television, MTV2: Music Television, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land and VH1 as well as The Suite from MTV Networks, a package of 10 digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks also has joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide.