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Tuesday, 25 January, 2000, 18:15 GMT
Backstreet Boys to conquer web

The Backstreet Boys are currently one of the world's biggest groups

A webcast of concerts by US boy band the Backstreet Boys is set to break the record for the most-watched online show.

Digital music retailers are to broadcast two gigs from the group's sell-out Into The Millennium Tour in a special pay-per-view deal on their website.

They are predicting that the demand among fans - many of whom may have missed out on tickets - will break the current world record of 50 million hits.

Web records

That target was set by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney in December when he returned to Liverpool's Cavern Club for a one-off gig.

Sir Paul McCartney holds the current record for hits
But is confident that the popularity of the pop heart-throbs - whose last album sold more than 28 million copies worldwide - will knock Sir Paul from his throne.

"Absolutely no doubt about it. We will be offering up the webcast for three months. I am convinced the McCartney figure will be topped. Just look at their fan base," said a company spokeswoman. is the official sponsor of the winter leg of the group's Into The Millennium North American Tour.

It begins on 11 February, consists of 23 shows in 18 cities and will take the group into arenas, stadiums and coliseums before concluding in Toronto on 15 March. plans to videotape the first two shows of the tour and offer them as part of a pay-per-view package from 15 March to 31 July.

Fans will also have the chance to see backstage footage and interviews, win tickets to a show in their area and attend a meet-and-greet with the group.

Huge following

The Backstreet Boys are currently considered one of the most popular acts in the world. They have received gold and platinum awards in 45 countries.

Tenor Pavarotti is also a fan of the web
Their latest album Millennium was recently honoured with 5 Grammy nominations and has spent more than 33 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 Albums list. was also behind the cybercast of Sir Paul McCartney's record-breaking Cavern concert on 14 December.

The company spokeswoman said that the internet was particularly favoured by pop stars.

"They love it. It is a way of going directly to their fans. Pavarotti adored it, McCartney thought it was the coolest thing and did a little Thank You video for us afterwards."

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