Will MySpace Music Be a Tall Enough Stage for Marketers?

Murdoch's Highly Anticipated Platform Could Offer Enormous Scale for Online Music Promotions

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Can MySpace Save the Major Music Labels? Haha. No. But some extra scratch wouldn't hurt. There's been estimates that the new MySpace Music could heave an extra billion dollars in the direction of the Big Four, but we're not so sure, and, for our purposes, we don't really care. The question is: what can it offer marketers?

It's too early to say what kind of unique opportunities MySpace Music might offer, but so far, we haven't heard of any. We're talking branded downloads, streams and playlists, the same methods used by everyone from Mountain Dew to The Gap in their promotions across the web. What will undoubtedly set MySpace Music apart, though, is the scale it will provide, opening up instant access to a base of 35 million music fans who already (like myself) google "Mount Eerie myspace" in order to instantly hear music.

As reported by Abbey Klaassen and others, MySpace has lined up some giant sponsors out of the gate: McDonald's, State Farm, Toyota and Sony Pictures, who will be using the new site to promote "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist."

The last of which brings up what some have called the "new album": playlists. Advertisers like Dewar's have been sponsoring playlists on Stereogum and other sites for a while, (so again, this isn't new) but few have had the opportunity to send them as widely across a social network as they will with MySpace Music. Paul at Mashable thinks "listeners display a low tolerance" for a McDonald's-branded music player, but I don't see this happening unless the integrations are truly noxious. As long as they're being provided some value (and don't underestimate the emotional value people still place on music; that will diminish only when we become at least 50% cyborg, and that's at least a decade off) users won't mind a few Golden Arches between them and a Lil Wayne remix.

Despite the opportunities, even Jeff Berman, president-sales and marketing at MySpace, was bearish on the new service blowing open the doors on music sponsorship.

From Ad Age:
Mr. Berman said MySpace works with about 90 of the top 100 advertisers. The MySpace Music proposition, he said, is less about attracting new advertisers than it is "about having deeper relationships with existing ones and bigger campaigns." Opening up a large area of MySpace-controlled content creates a vast landscape of inventory to sell to brand marketers.
There's still some reason to believe the whole venture may not work, but, despite Berman's hesitancy, it's possible that new advertisers will, in fact, be drawn to music promotions through MySpace Music because of the wide berth it affords for distribution. We're still waiting to see whether a branded playlist could leave the MySpace ecosystem -- we hope so -- but this could become a highly sought-after destination platform if it's created in a way that makes it convenient and useful for fans.
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