Popular and controversial music service Grooveshark has launched a Video Engagement Platform that is designed to both promote emerging artists and create a branded revenue stream. Sponsored videos are shown to highly active users who are given the option of watching a 15 to 60 second video ad and then being afforded 4 hours of ad-free music.
The program was tested with a group of indie bands and is now being offered more widely to artists including those with crowdfunding campaigns. It's an interesting way to monetize the service through relevant branded content.
Grooveshark is currently facing lawsuits from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music but that's not stopping them from moving ahead and exploring revenue models to support free music. Paid offerings have included listening ad-free or accessing Grooveshark via Android or Blackberry phones.
However, a more interesting approach featuring branded content is now being rolled out after a test period. Grooveshark's Video Engagement Platform will feature the option to pay a fee for extended ad-free service or watch a sponsored video featuring an emerging artist or group.
The Tenant's Mystery Mountain Analytics
Currently featured artists who also appeared during the one month test period include The Tenant, DWNTWN and Quiet Company. The Tenant's Dave Kay says:
"Our video view count jumped by more than 75,000 plays in a week and our Likes and comments more than quadrupled...It’s amazing the number of new fans we’ve gained just because people are seeing the video."
Given that the video is played in order to get ad-free music, it's the increase in engagement that suggests the real potential of this approach for promoting up-and-coming artists. Grooveshark consciously targets viewers who are the most active and the most likely to spread the word about new artists. Currently about 8% of users are being offered the videos.
Alex Hoffman, Grooveshark’s Director of Artist Services, stated:
“Artists are always asking us for new ways to share their music with the world and connect with new fans. By involving our most engaged users, who are more likely to be influencers, these videos become a unique and powerful promotional tool for artists, labels, producers, brands, everyone involved...We’re just getting started, but over time we expect to connect fans, artists and music videos based upon musical tastes. Our goal is to make these as personal, relevant, and enjoyable as possible.”
Ideally the new Video Engagement Platform will allow Grooveshark to make money off sponsorships while continuing to support new artists.
It's usually better to get in early rather than late when such opportunities arise. Grooveshark wants to hear from both artists and brands who wish to participate and makes a special mention of bands "with Kickstarter or other support campaigns."
If you want in, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs about dance at All World Dance. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.