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Universal mini format aims for max impact

Universal mini format aims for max impact

The major's Polydor label will release the new album from Soulja Boy Tell'em, titled iSoulja-BoyTellem, as a mini album on June 22. The release follows the success of the Pussycat Dolls' Doll Domination - The Mini Collection, which has sold more than 70,000 units in the UK.

The revamp, which differs from the old mini album format in that it is based around existing hits rather than new material, is intended to retail at £4.99 digital/?5.99 physical. The physical format will be housed in a simple digipak.

The Soulja Boy album will feature six tracks: hits Kiss Me Thru The Phone (currently in the top 10) and Crank That; future singles Yamaha Mama feat. Sean Kingston and Turn My Swag On; and two "street tracks" Bird Walk and Gucci Bandanna.

Doll Domination - The Mini Collection is a pared-down version of the group's 2008 album Doll Domination, with their A R Rahman hit collaboration Jai Ho! added on.

Product manager Matt White says that the return of the mini album format is the result of extensive Universal research.

"We found that young people were doing a lot of filesharing and illegal downloading because they don't have the disposable income to spend £10 on an album," he explains. "The idea of a mini album was raised to them and the response was very positive."

And he denies that the format is simply a return to old ways. "It's not a return to how we used to do things," he says. "The way that the business is growing, the kids are looking for different ways to consume music."

What is more, White believes that, by appealing to a younger audience, the mini album can help to foster the habit of music buying. "We are trying to encourage young buyers into the market, rather than illegal downloading," he says. "When they get to the age of 30 then they will have moved onto buying full albums."

The decision to release Soulja Boy's album on the format was, according to White, very straightforward. "We knew that Soulja Boy would appeal to that market," he says, adding that the rapper's US management reacted very warmly to the idea.

Moving forward, the major will examine whether to roll out the format on an act-by-act basis, although White says that response among retailers as well as from Universal US has been very positive.

The major will also look at releasing iSouljaBoyTellem as a deluxe version - another format Universal has arguably pioneered - in the future, bringing the release full cycle.

The Soulja Boy album release will be backed by online marketing campaigns with Bebo, MSN, Sonic Network and Gorilla Nation, as well as additional marketing via Universal and independent databases.

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