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Vox Pop

The Stones do the Web

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Who says the Rolling Stones are out of tune with the times? Exhumed for the Bridges to Babylon tour, the band is reaching out to Net-savvy fans with a typically innovative stunt. Log onto http://www.the-rolling-stones.com, and you can vote for the Stones song you’d most like added to the playlist at their next concert. As a bonus, you may even get to view a cybercast of Mick and the Babylonians blowing the rust off the chosen song.

Midway through each show, the Web votes are tallied, and as the winning song title is displayed on a giant monitor, the band takes its cue (though preliminary counts give the Stones a fair idea of what the winning song will be several hours before show time). ”It’s a unique way of integrating the Web in a rock & roll context,” says Dan Spencer, president of MAI Interactive, which produces the site. ”Since the voting is worldwide, it reflects the desires of thousands of fans.” The highest voter count so far was 14,981 before a Columbus, Ohio, concert.

The process has already changed the Stones’ concert repertoire: After ”Gimme Shelter” won four nights running, the band added it to their set list. Other winners almost seem designed to stump the Stones. ”She’s a Rainbow” — a 1967 number the band hadn’t performed in years — topped the poll at Chicago’s Soldier Field, Sept. 25, and who knew Stones fans held such fond memories of 1976’s ”Memory Motel,” which won two nights in a row?

”Mick tells the audience beforehand that he hopes he and the band remember the words and licks to what’s chosen,” says Spencer. ”So far, they have.” Just like the Stones — who leave no source of profit unturned — to get their money’s worth from the Internet.

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