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Capitol: 'Electric Barbarella' release touches a nerve

Screenshot of Duran Duran Web page September 10, 1997
Web posted at: 8:07 p.m. EDT (0007 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Capitol Records is letting Duran Duran fans listen to the band's single "Electric Barbarella" online for free over the next two weeks.

The single, released on the Capitol Records site on Tuesday in conjunction with Liquid Audio, is the first song that Capitol had ever debuted online. The song was released online to promote Duran Duran's upcoming "Medazzaland" album.

Popularity delayed sale

The venture was originally planned to sell copies of the single, in the Liquid Audio sound format, for 99 cents. A special "Internet Only Mix" was to cost $1.99. Liquid Audio's promoters say the format allows provides high- to CD-quality sound over the Web.

But the online release turned out to be so popular that Capitol has postponed the sale until September 23, the record company said.

Until that date, Capitol is allowing visitors to the site to hear -- but not download -- the full-length streaming song on the Web. A 30-second Liquid Audio clip of the song is available for free download.

Depending on computer modem speed or bandwidth, an online customer could download the entire Duran Duran single, which is a little longer than three minutes, in anywhere from less than a minute up to 15 minutes, said Robin Bechtel, senior director for new media at Capitol, which is owned by EMI.

Capitol first to sell CD-quality music online

Capitol is the first of the world's major six labels to sell CD-quality singles for consumers to download before they are made available at retail stores.

Some labels, such Sony Music and Time Warner's Warner Music, have launched online ventures where consumers can order albums to be shipped through the mail. Others have been hesitant to set up direct sales on the Internet for fear of alienating retailers.

But Bechtel said Capitol does not see its online Duran Duran promotion as threatening to existing online sales. "We are working with retailers who are participating with this promotion," she said.

Bechtel said Capitol will offer links to online retailers such as CDNow, N2K's Music Boulevard and Tower Records' Tower Online. Capitol plans to offer six more singles in the same way, she said.


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