Music Marketing

ReverbNation Teams With Microsoft Windows For Massive Song Giveaway

Reverbnation_logo  Windows

Today ReverbNation is officially launching Sponsored Songs, a program that Hypebot covered previously that offers fans access to unlimited free mp3 downloads from 1,000 mostly indie artists. In addition to the promotional value, artists are compensated for the downloads thanks to a sponsorship from Microsoft's Windows

A passive ad is embedded alongside the cover art that is seen whenever the track is played offering the advertiser ongoing exposure without disrupting track portability or the fan's listening experience. Sponsored Songs will be available free June 24 thru September 24th at and will feature music from independent and mainstream artists across all genres.

“Ad-supported music models have historically been unable to deliver the value required by advertisers because they focus on the point of acquisition alone – one moment with one music fan,” explains Jed Carlson, COO of ReverbNation. “Sponsored Songs aligns the interests of artists, fans, and major brands, creating a win-win-win situation where free music is a shared goal that benefits all parties.”


Sponsored Songs is an opt-in program for select artists that use as their online marketing platform.  They are paid for each qualified download and are shown the exact advertisement for prior to the campaign launch.   “We treat Artists like we would want to be treated,” says Lou Plaia, vice president of artist relations at

“Since version 1.0 of Windows, Microsoft has focused on developing technology that helps individuals be as creative as they can be. By participating in Sponsored Songs we are supporting music artists and their fans,” said Marty Collins, group marketing manager of Windows Consumer Marketing at Microsoft Corp. “We’re excited to be a part of an effort that could transform online music distribution.”

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  1. Think before you give away your songs for free. “hey are paid for each qualified download and are shown the exact advertisement for prior to the campaign launch.” with a maximum payment of $50. I passed.

  2. Every Artist in the program was assigned a ‘cap’ on the # of downloads they would be paid for based on what we knew about the size and makeup of their fan base and their ability to deliver downloads to them. The ‘cap’ ranged from $50 to several thousands, depending on the Artist.
    In addition to the financial compensation, all Artists in the program get the added benefit of the extensive marketing and promotion that Windows and ReverbNation are doing to push fans to their music. That’s free promotion that the Artist doesn’t have to layout cash to receive – a nice perk.
    That isn’t to say the program is for every Artist. It isn’t. We’re testing a new model for getting Artists compensated for their art, and it isn’t a fit for everyone.
    Here is a video interview with Marty Collins at Windows for more info on how Windows sees this:

  3. I probably would never have hit the ‘cap’, honestly. But just the fact that there is a ‘cap’ is discouraging, and smells of B.S.
    I hope I’m wrong, and I wish you the best of luck with this promo. No really, I’m serious. 🙂

  4. Believe me, Justin, we can totally appreciate any cynicism about ‘the music business’. Lots of companies have taken advantage of Artists over the years. It would not be in the best interest of ReverbNation or Windows to do that, however.
    The download ‘cap’ is a fact of life from a business standpoint. No individual brand is going to literally write a blank check for as many downloads as can be given away (they wouldn’t be able to budget).
    So we made a decision to allocate the sponsorship $s across all of the participating Artists, in a way that we thought was most fair based on what we knew about them.
    If Artists over-deliver, that’s still a good thing, as it will position them to receive a higher ‘cap’ during the next campaign, and it also means that more potential fans are being exposed to their music.

  5. For unsigned bands already accustomed to giving their music away for free for exposure, this is a no-brainer. For others, perhaps not always….though I personally think exposure is always the path to take.

  6. DIY musicians in this age need to take a page from that recent Amanda Palmer post and realize that selling their songs (excluding licensing; i.e. sales to the general public) should not be their main income generator. Use the songs to create a fan-base that you can sell things to that cannot be downloaded. Musicians are so creative (well some at least) when creating the music and then fall asleep when it is time for promotion and sales. I think everyone needs to realize that the selling of music itself is dead; any sales generated from an artist’s tracks should be considered a bonus. It’s time for artists to stop complaining and get creative. It is still possible to make money in this industry with some marketing savvy/innovative ideas.

  7. We were a little cautious about joining the program, but exposure is king to our band Logan, so we thought we’d try it out and see the results.
    After only a few hours of the programme launche we have reached our cap of 400 downloads and we’ll be interested to see if the momentum continues.
    The key is the marketing push that reverbnation and Windows deliver – it would be good to see the marketing plan as I can’t see any advertising for the programme on the Windows or Microsoft websites and haven’t received any virals.
    We’ll also monitor sign ups to our reverbnation pages and mailing list.
    The cash generated is merely a bonus due to the cap, but the expansion of our data base and any exposure we receive via the marketing is what we are looking for.

  8. Jed and RN have their hearts in the right place on this one, but it would be good if we could track the download stats a little better. We’ve also hit our (100 download) cap in only a week, mostly thanks to scene bloggers getting the word out (we think, but don’t really know…)

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