IQ News: Sonicnet, Absolut Vodka, Start Singing Song Of Sponsorship

SonicNet, the New York-based alternative music Web site owned by TCI Music, is building on its success in Webcasting live events. Starting today, the site will distribute a live feed from the San Francisco-based Beta Lounge. For the first two months, the lounge will be sponsored by Absolut Vodka, which has been extending its alternative brand positioning onto the Net.
Beta Lounge, an independently owned electronic music site, will be integrated onto SonicNet’s live entertainment area called The Station. The site showcases weekly DJs spinning from a San Francisco studio in front of a live audience. Past DJs on Beta Lounge have included well-known British electronic music stars Roni Size and Goldie.
Beta Lounge now counts 150,000 monthly viewers and hopes to build its traffic through the additional distribution on SonicNet. SonicNet currently reaches 2 percent of all online users monthly, according to RelevantKnowledge data from last summer.
Absolut’s agency, TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, brokered the sponsorship deal with SonicNet. Red Sky Interactive, San Francisco, will produce the creative for the site, which will appear under the moniker “Absolut on The Station.”
“Historically, live events have been the signature of SonicNet,” said Scott Bonn, executive vice president of advertising sales and marketing at SonicNet. “We know there’s a portion of our audience interested in DJ mixes and electronic music. The relationship with Beta Lounge addresses that.”
SonicNet’s success with live-event sponsorships has included Cherry Coke, which sponsored a live cybercast concert series last holiday season, Levi’s and Japanese software and telecommunications company NTT. Arizona Jeans is now sponsoring live events on The Station.
The Beta Lounge has also worked with record labels, including Mercury, Sony Music and Ninja Tune, to promote its site-specific events. “We’re constantly doing contests and promotions with the labels and specific artists,” Bonn said. “We want to help labels break new artists.”