Online marketing service ReverbNation has announced a new program called “Sponsored Songs”, where they’ll pimp out artists’ songs to brand sponsors and directly give artists a cut for each download.
ReverbNation will pay participating musicians $.50 per free download with each track incorporating a small section of branded messaging within the digital cover art displayed every time the song is played.
When a fan initiates a download, patent pending technology merges the brand’s message into the digital cover art and songs are tracked as they are passed from fan to fan.
Some may feel the music experience is cheapened when artwork is mixed with advertising, but is playing MP3s through iTunes really a robust artistic experience to begin with? The company views this as a win-win-win: bands get paid for what would otherwise be free downloads, advertisers get their exposure and even when the music winds up in P2P/pirate hands, it’ll come with ads intact.
How do you feel about this? As a consumer, would you rather pay 99 cents for a download or take a free one with ad-artwork? As an artist, do you think the new revenue isn’t worth the intrusion on your art?