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'Billboard' Plugs Into Fuse

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NEW YORK Billboard, in a new push as a consumer brand, has struck a strategic alliance with the Fuse television network.

Beginning this week, Billboard is co-creating a two-minute segment called "The Daily Noise." The program, hosted by Billboard editor Bill Werde, will feature breaking information about tour dates, sponsorship news as well as upcoming album releases on the cable network, which is owned by Cablevision. Fuse, which launched in 2003, is available in more than 65 million U.S. homes and across multiple platforms.

The agreement is part of the 115-year-old music magazine's effort to become more of a consumer brand than a trade publication. Billboard.com, which relaunched on July 22, has positioned itself as a competitor to Apple's iTunes. The site offers music downloads for 89 cents to $1.10 a song via music provider Lala.

The publication has also provided decades of chart data that consumers can now view for free online as part of its effort to attract consumers. Billboard, like Adweek, is owned by the Nielsen Co.

"We're already a consumer brand," said Werde. "We're just doubling down on that with the site relaunch."

While the brand has already moved into other venues like branded nightclubs in Japan, it should exercise caution, said Simon Sinek, president of the strategic consultancy Sinek Partners. "There needs to be a purpose. It can't just be about slapping their name on everything," he said.

Said Billboard publisher Howard Appelbaum of the Fuse deal: "This show perfectly aligns with Billboard 's editorial strategy to take consumers behind the velvet rope to connect with their favorite artists in a meaningful way." 

The Daily Noise will air five times daily during weekday afternoons on the cable channel and will also be streamed at Billboard.com.

Kevin McKiernan, CEO of Creative License, a music and talent creative strategy consultancy, said the Fuse deal and ones like it can only help broaden the brand: "Billboard is still in a niche. [These moves] give it a chance to open it up."