In a world of iTunes and Pandora, MTV is looking to reestablish itself as the best destination for music lovers to discover new artists.
The network on Tuesday (Dec. 14) will roll out The Music Meter (Mtvmusicmeter.com), a new site that ranks and compiles bands and artists who are generating the most buzz on the Web at a given moment. Instead of featuring MTV-sanctioned artists—such as Eminem and Beyonce—front and center, the site lists performers like Mike Posner, Wacka Flocka Flame and Dev in its top 10 list, despite their lack of household name status.
Each artist has his or her own profile page containing a basic biography and photos, as well as related tweets and news stories aggregated from across the Web in real time (MTV has partnered with the data company EchoNest). Plus, users can sample—and eventually purchase—a half dozen or so of the artists songs as part of a deal with Rhapsody (currently the site does not allow users to purchase via iTunes).
The idea behind The Music Meter is “to really reflect what is happening at a given moment in the whole music ecosystem . . . based on velocity and buzz, not total popularity,” said Shannon Connolly, MTV’s vp, digital music strategy. “The spirit of this is to be a jumping off point for music discovery.”
To that end, each Music Meter page has a “similar” button designed to help users find artists with similar sounds—using data and technology, not MTV’s editorial judgment. “That's kind of a big deal for MTV,” said Connolly.
The Music Meter formally launches in March (it’s currently in beta). The product has been designed with multiple platforms in mind, including tablets, Connolly said. Initially, The Music Meter will soon be available on Android devices and iPhones, but down the road there could be versions of select lists from the site available for users to embed on Facebook and music blogs.
The site is not launching with any advertising, but should have sponsors lined up for the March debut. Connolly said the plan is not “just skin the whole site,” but rather to have advertising integrated within the site. She added: “We could even see advertisers eventually unlocking content on the site.”