MSN Kicks Off “IM A Star” Promotion to Offer an Exclusive Session With Summer’s Hottest Musical Artists

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 8, 2003 — This summer, MSN®
Messenger offers music fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to instant message with some of the recording industry’s hottest young artists.

Beginning today, music fans in the United States can download MSN Messenger 6.0 until Aug. 31 and enter to win the
“IM A Star”
promotion at . Seven winners will receive an exclusive invitation to personally chat with one of seven major musical acts–Mary J. Blige, Bon Jovi, Bow Wow, Ludacris, Mya, Seal and Smashmouth–in an exclusive 10-minute instant message (IM) session. Winners can also invite eight of their friends to join the instant message conversation.

In addition to the promotion, fans can log on to MSN Entertainment to access information, as well as watch and hear their favorite artists. Fans can also listen to artists’ singles, view their latest videos, purchase their albums and download images to a desktop computer. In addition, they can get artists’ biographies, tour information and photos.

“The ‘IM A Star’ promotion from MSN Messenger is a unique opportunity for music fans to get up close and personal with the entertainers they love,”
said Hadi Partovi, general manager for MSN Entertainment at Microsoft Corp.
“In addition to giving seven lucky winners and their friends the chance to chat with their chosen celebrity, consumers can log on to MSN Entertainment anytime to find up-to-the-minute celebrity information and enjoyment.”

Fans can also find plenty of details about the artists involved in the
“IM A Star”
promotion by logging on to MSN Entertainment:

  • Mary J. Blige’s new album is set to hit stores Aug. 26, and her latest video is featured on MSN Entertainment.

  • Bon Jovi’s latest album
    is a hit.

  • Bow Wow’s new video is featured on MSN Entertainment, and his latest album will hit stores Aug. 19.

  • Ludacris’ hit video is featured on MSN Entertainment, and his
    “Word of Mouf”
    tour is under way.

  • Mya’s new video, for the single from her latest album
    is featured on MSN Entertainment.

  • Seal’s new album is scheduled for release Sept. 9, and he is MSN Music’s artist of the month for August. Also, MSN Entertainment visitors can be the first to see Seal’s video
    “Waiting on You”
    and hear the single
    “Love’s Divine”

  • Smashmouth’s new album released Aug. 5, and the band’s single premiered on MSN Entertainment during the last week of July.

Fans can also introduce unique personalization features into their online environment by downloading special MSN Messenger 6.0 custom themes for the featured artists ( including backgrounds and custom display pictures.

The seven lucky fans will be chosen between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15. For a chance to be invited to chat, fans must have the latest version of MSN Messenger 6.0 and be logged into the MSN Messenger service at the time the exclusive invitations are sent.

MSN Messenger 6.0, available for free download at , comes with a number of enhancements and new features, including these:

  • More than 60 new emoticons, including some with animation, and tools that allow the user to make personal emoticons

  • Dozens of background images and personal display pictures for the IM screen

  • Online games such as Tic Tac Toe and
    which users can play at IM speed with friends

  • An integrated, easy-to-use webcam feature, powered by Logitech, to share live video pictures with other MSN Messenger customers

  • One-click convenience when saving favorite IM conversations to a personal hard drive

  • Integration with more devices, including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), MSN Direct watches or Tablet PCs

MSN Messenger 6.0 also allows customers greater flexibility in personalizing their
“digital self,”
with a selection of backgrounds, display pictures and emoticons. This personalization, along with other unique features, has helped MSN Messenger become one of the world’s most popular free instant messaging application, with 100 million active customers worldwide.

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. MSN 8 is the first Internet software product to have earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at . MSN worldwide sites are located at h .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at h

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