I’m a Featured Artist this week (July 29-August 4) in the Microsoft Windows Sponsored Songs program, a campaign Microsoft is doing to advertise their newest Windows Media Player. What does it mean? 1,000 free mp3 or mp4 downloads by indie artists. My song “here on earth/The Opening” is one of ten songs omnipresent here: Myspace.com/Windows and available for free download.
The Sponsored Songs program was launched by ReverbNation.com, a social networking site created to help musicians turn emerging online technology into marketing tools, fanbase monitors and, ultimately, money makers. In more sugar coated terms, it’s a place where genuine music enthusiasts can easily browse, sample, and discover music from established and emerging artists, and where artists can distribute their music across the web regardless of where people want to go get it.
Sponsored Songs is an opt-in program for select artists that use ReverbNation.com as their online marketing platform. 1,000 out of the site’s 400,000 indie artists were selected to join the pilot program (by pilot, they mean it is a trial run). Artists are paid for each qualified download, and are shown the exact advertisement for their approval prior to the campaign launch.
Who is the sponsor paying these starving artists for their music and giving it away for free? Microsoft Windows. The program is the latest in the trend— large companies using independent music to reach new audiences. The music can lead the brand into new markets, and simultaneously offers bands a new avenue of access to potential fans while earning the band a pittance.
ReverbNation is probably the most artist-friendly social networking site that I have come across and that says a lot as my music is pretty much on every significant music site there is (I’ve done the research!). “We treat Artists like we would want to be treated,” says Lou Plaia, vice president of artist relations at ReverbNation.com.
The three month campaign will provide reach metrics to the participating brand (in this case, Microsoft Windows) by tracking the songs with a digital watermark as they move through peer-to-peer networks.
According to Jed Carlson, chief operating officer of ReverbNation, “Sponsored Songs aligns the interests of artists, fans, and major brands, creating a win-win-win situation where free music is a shared goal that benefits all parties.” I (want to) believe this statement is true and I’m honored to be included in the program.