10/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Became One Giant Viral Marketplace

In the back of a limo a boy rings a girl to tell her he won't be able to make their date. She looks down at the remains of the Chinese takeaway she's ordered in as a surprise for the two of them, and tells him it's fine, as though her heart isn't really breaking. In the background, LCD Soundsystem's mournful New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down plays on.

The voiceover kicks in over shots of Manhattan and the credits roll. Then comes the kicker: "Tonight's Gossip Girl featured music by the Pierces, the Fratellis, Seabear, Santogold and LCD Soundsystem. To download the music head to"

Should you choose to follow those instructions you'd find further riches in store. Literally in store. For America's The CW channel, home of Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model and the new 90210 remake among others, isn't just a television channel - here, the show you watch is linked to the fashion you buy or the music you download.

"Our target group, which is mainly women between the ages of 18 and 34, are the sort of people whose main interest lies in music and fashion," says The CW's head of marketing, Rick Haskins. "They hear the music on the show and see the clothes and think, I wonder where I could get that dress that Leighton [Meester who plays Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf] is wearing, or I love that tune and I'd like to download it now." In addition, Haskins says, functions as a place where people can discuss the music or clothes they are contemplating buying.

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