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Brands In Tune With MySpace Music

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LOS ANGELES Sony Pictures, McDonald's, State Farm and Toyota have signed on as platinum sponsors of MySpace Music, said Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing at the client.

The e-commerce venue is slated to launch in the next few weeks. It will be integrated with MySpace proper for some functionality, but can also be used as a standalone resource by those who are not members of the News Corp.-owned social network.

One key reason Berman believes that MySpace Music will succeed is the "social filter on top of it," making the service more like an online community than simply a source for music.

Berman drew a distinction between the site's relationship with the music labels Sony BMG, Universal and Warner and the new sponsors. "We haven't made just a commercial deal with the labels, but a joint venture, so they are invested in our success," Berman said. Platinum sponsor brands, on the other hand, will be integrated into various MySpace Music programs. For example, McDonald's will sponsor free music downloads and have a presence among the customized tools on the MySpace Personal Music Player.

The site will accommodate ad-sponsored unlimited live streaming of content, but downloading material to another device would typically require a fee, Berman said.

State Farm's brand will be visible throughout the site, gracing the music player and various playlists. The insurer will probably integrate its MySpace Music affiliation with its own content offering, NowWhat.com.

Toyota plans to sponsor "Toyota Tuesdays," supporting free music downloads and rotating its ads on the music player for the next year.

Sony Pictures is launching a campaign for the Oct. 3 release Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Whereas MySpace users can now only add a single song to their profiles for sharing, MySpace Music will allow them to create and post entire playlists. Sony will exploit that feature by skinning user lists with messages related to the movie. A MySpace Music homepage roadblock for the film is also planned.

Berman said MySpace Music would be marketed via the MySpace network of 76 million domestic and 122 million worldwide users and through some "offline marketing as well," though he declined to disclose details of the future campaign.

READ AN INTERVIEW WITH MYSPACE CEO CHRIS DEWOLFE ABOUT THE SOCIAL NET'S MUSIC PLANS
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