MTV Launches New ‘Artists’ Platform

What’s this? Music on MTV? The television network once known for music videos is launching an online platform where both mainstream and indie artists can interact with their fans.

Similar to MySpace, Artists.MTV will have fan pages for artists to upload music, videos, photographs, and sync with their social media accounts.  The big-name stars will already have fan pages made for them that they can claim.

With MTV’s vast database of music videos, the site has the potential to be an incredible treasure chest of historical artifacts. Just look at Rollingstone.com’s amazing library of album reviews and photographs.

But Shannon Connolly, vice president of digital music strategy for the MTV Music Group, told audience members at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX  that the platform “is for garage bands as much as it is for Lady Gaga.”

The site will broaden MTV’s current database of 10,000 mainstream artist pages to over 1 million with the addition of emerging artists and lesser-known musicians, which fans can discover while they’re exploring the site.

As with YouTube and iTunes, MTV will use the wisdom of the crowds to dig for new talent. The network already has plans for a monthly showcase called “Full Frontal,” which will choose one artist per month to be featured in different shows on MTV, VH1, and the many spinoffs within Music Group’s TV family.

Artists will also benefit from the new revenue streams.  Music downloads, merchandising, ticket sales, and even a tip jar are some of the ways that musicians will be able to promote themselves with their pages. MTV will partner with Top Spin, an e-commerce platform, to let the artists sell items directly to their fans.

There will also be a revenue-sharing model for the advertising dollars generated through the site. Mediapost had the details:

On the ad revenue side, Connolly says MTV is still figuring out what the proper “rev share” model is, but that once it is set, it will be a uniform cut applied to all artists, not just big or small ones.

Artists.MTV will launch in private beta on May 16.