Thursday, May 14, 2009

Myspace Music, Vitaminwater, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys & 50 Cent

You might have read that Youtube has partnered with Universal Music to launch a new, branded music site, Vevo. To that bit of news, add this one - Myspace Music has entered into a partnership with Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater.

This summer, 24 million bottles of Vitaminwater's new flavor, Sync, will feature the Myspace logo. Under-the-cap codes can be redeemed on Myspace Music, via the social networking site's partnership with Amazon, for a free MP3 download.

Vitaminwater is paying for the downloads, thereby driving revenue to Myspace Music's shareholders - major record labels. The shareholders stand to gain from all of the revenue streams from the monetization of the site - advertising, digital-music sales, t-shirts, and concert ticket sales purchased through Myspace Music. However, since music downloads bring in the most revenue, the labels are really hoping that this partnership with Vitaminwater will turn Myspace Music visitors - 27 million unique visitors in April, alone - into buyers.

This shows promise because so far, Sync is one of Vitaminwater's top flavors with consumers. It's also the first time that Vitaminwater has entered into a co-branding arrangement with another consumer-products company.

"We're linking up with MySpace to give something back to our loyal users," said Eric Berniker, senior VP-marketing at Vitaminwater. "In this economy, anything free is appreciated."

"We think this will show the ease of use of the site," Myspace Music President Courtney Holt said. "There are buy buttons next to every stream of music. We think boosting conversions is really important for our business."

Vitmainwater is supporting the new campaign - "Download of vitamins and antioxidants" - with magazine, radio, and in-store advertising that features Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, and 50 Cent. The campaign kicked off recently, and will end July 31st.

Check out the campaign's myspace page, here.

photo: Carrie Underwood & 50 Cent

This is Myspace Music's first major co-branding partnership since former MTV executive Courtney Holt stepped in as president, back in January. But it's not a first for Myspace Music - Toyota has been offering free MP3 downloads, "Toyota Tuesdays", on Myspace Music.

It's also not the first time that something like this happened - think back to the 2004 partnership between Apple's iTunes and Pepsi, where Pepsi sponsored free downloads to help build awareness of the iTunes site. Myspace Music and Vitaminwater executives won't say how many downloads they expect to result from this partnership, but in 2004 the partnership between iTunes and Pepsi resulted in only 5 million downloads out of a possible 100 million downloads. But even a small boost would be welcomed, because Fox Interactive Media, a division of News Corp, suffered an $89 million dollar loss last quarter.

"We love seeing our brand associated with [Vitaminwater] and seeing MySpace extended into other media outlets. It's driving awareness of our network," Mr. Holt said. "We're hoping other brands will see this as a place to do collaborative, integrated business. This exemplifies what we can do vs. what other media companies can do."

Can Vitaminwater Help MySpace Music Make Some Money? Coca-Cola Brand Offers Free Downloads From Fledgling News Corp. Service, by Michael Learmonth and Natalie Zmuda, Advertising Age, May 13, 2009

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