Fans of the band Radiohead now have a friend in IM.
Capitol Records on Tuesday introduced a new instant chat "buddy"--the
first of its kind--designed specifically to respond to questions on the
popular rockers. Timed with the launch of the band's new album,
Amnesiac, the Radiohead buddy can chat about the band's touring dates,
up-to-date news, artist bios and album info.
The buddy, named GooglyMinotaur after a character on Amensiac's artwork,
is an exclusive on America Online's instant messenger service for the next
The launch marks one of the first commercial uses of instant messenger,
a fast-growing means of communication for families, friends and
co-workers. IM networks have long been looking for a way to profit from
the millions of people chatting via IM.
Capitol Records partnered
with New York-based ActiveBuddy to develop the branded service earlier
this year. For Capitol, using the chat window as a promotional tool
could enhance a relationship with music fans and bolster sales. For
instant messenger providers such as AOL, Yahoo and MSN, licensing room
on their networks could mean added revenues.
ActiveBuddy plans to introduce a series of agents over the next several
weeks, including ones that tap Reuters finance data, movie information
and baseball statistics. A general-interest buddy under the name
"Smarterchild" also will be introduced.
The buddies, or bots, are activated by a natural-language search called
"buddy script" that can communicate with various content databases, such
as Reuters, to pull up answers on topics at lightning speed, as well as
other random questions. For example, by asking GooglyMinotaur "Where are
my tickets?" the buddy will reply: "Probably where you left them." It
then asks if you would like to download a Radiohead MP3 file.
Publicity for Radiohead's new album has been buzzing on the Net. Web giant
Yahoo said last week that it would let people listen to
Radiohead's upcoming album in its entirety before it was due out
Tuesday. Yahoo devoted a portion of its Yahoo Music site to promoting
Radiohead and the album. Fans can preorder the CD, watch the band's
music videos and concert footage, download pictures and one track from
the album, and bid on front-row seats for Radiohead's upcoming tour.
Capitol Records and Radiohead also plan to offer content such as
archived interviews with Radiohead in partnership with MTV.com.