The single, "Anything," is expected to be available for download at Mjuice.com until November 23, when the album will be released to the public.
The move--a first for Elektra--comes as major labels are experimenting with new opportunities offered by the Web and by music compression formats such as MP3.
Fears about piracy of copyrighted material have deterred many labels from using the Web as a promotional or distribution channel. But those fears are fading as record companies explore new business strategies and as new security features emerge to block illegal copying.
An Mjuice representative touted the company's security features as a significant deal-closer. Notably, copies of "Anything" downloaded from Mjuice are time-programmed to stop working when the album arrives in stores.
Several major labels and rights clearinghouses recently have made tentative steps toward Web-based distribution and promotion.
Warner Bros., for example, made an industry first in September, opting to sell the soundtrack to its movie Three Kings exclusively online--through e-tailers CDNow and MP3.com--instead of through traditional retailers.
Also in September, Internet music company EMusic.com struck a licensing deal with Broadcast Music (BMI), giving it access to the performing rights group's roster of 3 million songs. To actually sell songs, EMusic needs additional permission from the record labels that own the master recordings of the music. But licenses from rights clearinghouses like BMI are a necessary step in bringing those songs online.
Other labels to sign online promotional and marketing deals include Maverick Recording Company, a subsidiary of Time Warner, which agreed to use Liquid Audio to distribute services for an Internet marketing campaign to support the release of Alanis Morrisette's MTV Unplugged CD, also being released November 23.