Rockers Megadeth Eye Broadband Access for Fans

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. (05/04/2000) - Heavy-metal band Megadeth is moving toward megabits.

Through an alliance with digital subscriber line provider Covad Communications Co., the band is now able to merge its megadeth.net virtual domain with DSL broadband access. DSL can let fans log on at broadband speeds, opening up new possibilities, such as streaming video.

"High-speed connectivity has one of its biggest benefits in the entertainment industry. If we want to make a video or a song available on the Internet, fans can go in and actually make some use of that instead of using a RealAudio player that's buffering for 15 minutes trying to download," says Doug Brooks, megadeth.net's administrative director.

Megadeth didn't develop these broadband ideas on its own. The fast-access dreams came up when LaserLink, which handled the band's megadeth.net domain business, was bought by DSL provider Covad earlier this year. The band had been selling fans megadeth. net e-mail addresses and Web space. Covad's strategy was to combine its expertise setting up and wholesaling DSL services with LaserLink's personalized domain services.

Until the Covad/ LaserLink deal, Megadeth was satisfied with just offering dial-up Internet access as part of its megadeth.net offering, which includes e-mail and a personal Web site.

Megadeth is still mulling how exactly to incorporate DSL in its strategy.

Initially, the Internet service was just a novelty. "We wanted to give fans the cool factor of having the band's name in their e-mail address," says Dave Mustaine, Megadeth's lead singer, who works directly on the band's Internet efforts.

But already the band sees ways to integrate its music and the Internet.

Megadeth.net registration software comes included on the band's latest CD, Risk. And those who sign up separately for the service receive the registration software on a CD that includes videos of two songs - "Train of Consequences" and "Almost Honest" - that are available nowhere else.

The band isn't really interested in turning a big profit on the service it buys from Covad/LaserLink, Brooks says. "Even if it's a minimal profit, it's much more beneficial as a marketing tool," he says.

Ding-dong, DSL calling

While the personal domain service is auxiliary to Megadeth, the cosmetics company Avon is pinning its future on the Internet and its personalized Web site, Avon.com, that is being handled by Covad/ LaserLink.

The company is working to get as many of its 500,000 representatives as possible to use the Internet to sell products and do paperwork electronically.

Just processing the biweekly, 53-page purchase orders cuts the cost from $3 to 50 cents apiece. "This is an absolute necessity," says Len Edwards, Avon president and general manager.

To make the online scheme work, Avon has pieced together a deal under which representatives can lease a PC, get Internet access and a customized portal for reps to enter Avon's site to do business. That costs $19.95 per month, and at the end of three years, the reps own the PC.

DSL is potentially attractive because many of the sales reps have one home telephone and don't want to tie up the line. This would give them a separate DSL line that would leave the telephone free, Edwards says.

With the new online effort, reps will get their own Web pages where their customers can check in for the personalized treatment that is part of the Avon package, Edwards says.

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