Innovative Industry Contest “Scoring Music and Selecting Hits” (SMASH) Gives Away $50,000 in Prizes

Santa Monica, California, January 25, 2002 – Universal Music and Video Distribution today announced the winners of its online artist development contest called SMASH (‘Scoring Music and Selecting Hits’). Launched in Spring 2001, SMASH, which was only open to music retail employees, gave players the chance to “sign” new and developing artists from the UMG family of labels to their personal “fantasy” record label. Points were then scored based on SoundScan reported sales.

The winners of the SMASH contest are:

Seth Brandler, Store Manager, of Disc Jockey in Ocoee, Florida, was the Grand Prize winner of a BMW Z3 Roadster. His winning fantasy record label boasted an impressive “roster” comprised of some of this year’s hottest new and developing artists: Nelly Furtado, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, Russell Watson, Sum 41, Bond, Fenix TX, Krystal Harris, Tricky, Bilal, Jimmy Eat World, Primer 55, Puddle of Mudd, Prophet Jones, Ryan Adams, Benzino, Pat Green, Hoobastank, and Keke Wyatt.

Leigh Ann Hill, Divisional Merchandising Manager, Circuit City, Richmond, Virginia, was the 2nd Place prize winner of a Panasonic Home Theater System.

Erik Los, Buyer, Virgin Megastore, Ontario, California, was the 3rd place prize winner of a digital camcorder.

Kevin Milligan, VP of Music Merchandising, Wherehouse Music, Torrance, California, was the 4th Place winner of a 27-inch TV/DVD/VCR.

Other winners included Jeffrey Wyrick, Chad Frerichs, Keith Sereduck, Curt Gettman, Adam Greenberg, and Dave Fleischer.

With the aid of a website created specifically for this game, over 1,200 retail employee contestants learned about UMVD developing artists from information such as bios, tours, appearances, and music preview samples. This information was used by participants to predict and choose, on a monthly basis, which artists they thought would achieve the most weekly sales, earning points based on SoundScan reported sales. Each subsequent month during the game’s duration two additional artists were added to their virtual ‘record labels’ to build their fantasy ‘rosters.’

Based on the tremendous popularity of the contest, UMVD will soon launch SMASH 2.

Cliff O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Artist Development, Universal Music and Video Distribution, said, “SMASH has been a terrific way for UMVD to bring extra focus to our key developing artists – many of whom have become gold and platinum sellers. We thank all of the people who participated in the contest and congratulate our winners.”

Universal Music and Video Distribution handles the distribution and sales for such labels as The Universal/Motown Records Group, The Island/Def Jam Music Group, Roadrunner, Interscope, Geffen, A&M Records, MCA Records, MCA Nashville, Universal South, Lost Highway, Mercury Nashville, The Verve Music Group, Universal Classics, Universal Music Latino, Universal Music Enterprises, Univision Music Group, DreamWorks, Disa, ABKCO, Hollywood, Lideres Entertainment, Lyric Street, Northsound, RMM, Thump, Varese Sarabande, Walt Disney, and Viva Discos as well as theatrical video from Universal Studios.

Universal Music and Video Distribution is a unit of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 63 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 Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Roadrunner, Lost Highway, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Universal South, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world.

The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its division dedicated to strategy, business development, and management of new businesses in the online and advanced technology space.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.