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Blogs put new spin on musician-fan relationship

THE BALTIMORE SUN

YEARS BEFORE THE BOOM OF the Internet and reality TV, major pop stars maintained a certain mystique. If your love for them ran deep, you joined a fan club. Through snail mail, you received information about tours and album releases, and deals on rare posters and T-shirts. Perhaps you learned "personal" details about the artists in the fan club newsletter: the name of the high school Pat Benatar attended, the astrological personality traits of each member of New Edition, the brand of lipstick Boy George prefers.

Fan clubs still exist, of course. But blogging has revolutionized the way fans connect with their favorite performers. Beyond "sharing time" with the folks who rabidly purchase every album and concert ticket, some pop stars have figured out a way to use blogs to boost their brand -- spurring record sales when other outlets have been closed to them.

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