Yesterday Tumblr announced the introduction of an official #Music page featuring content curated by handpicked editors. With a related exclusive interview on Billboard.biz, the news seems designed to attract music-related brands who wish to run native ads on Tumblr. It's a smart move that allows for a curated tag experience without totally hijacking current use of the #music tag.
Wow, that sounds like new user behavior. Given that users are already using the #music tag and that users can already search for that tag on the site, it would be surprising if both bloggers and fans are demanding a curated edition. Let's just chalk that one up to an overenthusiastic Tumblr publicist and cut them a break.
Screengrab of Tumblr's New #Music Page
If you're not logged into Tumblr, the Music page returns only the curated content in a grid format. Once you log in and go to the page, which you can also reach by searching for music, the results are presented in a more typical Tumblr stream of posts. The option to "Show all posts tagged music" is available in the sidebar and clicking it returns a full stream of users' Tumblr posts with music-related tags.
According to an exclusive interview at Billboard.biz with "Tumblr's music evangelist" Nate Auerbach:
"As of Thursday there are about 20 editors -- more will come -- ranging from concert venues such as Washington DC's 9:30 Club and Los Angeles's The Echo to journalists, bloggers and VH1. The page has been in beta for two months."
"Auerbach says tag editors were chosen because they have a significant following or respect in their various fields and represent music diversity. Some are native Tumblr bloggers. 'These are all trusted brands,' he says."
You can find out more about the restraints on tag editors via Tumblr's Tag Editor Guidelines and FAQ though certain limitations, such as length of editorship, suggests that these guidelines may not apply to current developments.
Auerbach joined Tumblr in May 2012 and told Billboard's Glenn Peoples:
"Before me there wasn't anyone who could speak to the intricacies of the way the music industry works, and there wasn't anyone who could police how the tag editing works."
While I doubt it would be difficult for Tumblr to find another tag cop, Nate Auerbach's experience as "Marketing Manager" at Myspace and "Digital Executive" at The Collective, a "full-service entertainment management, media and content production company," suggests that this move is designed to create a safe space for native ads from music-related brands.
Getting the news out via a Billboard.biz exclusive also supports that explanation. Ad Age would be too obvious and wouldn't necessarily reach music brands while Pitchfork would be a bit more likely to take a critical stance.
In addition, Tumblr's Music Blog will be ramping up featured content and will therefore offer another potential venue for native ads.
The curated page still has a bit of edge given the above screengrab that includes what appears to be an image suggestive of Jesus with an AK and turns out to be a bit of anti-gun art for a Soundgarden gig. But that's rock 'n' roll!
Overall this is a really smart move for Tumblr. And both the #Music page and blog will probably be great places to check out music-related Tumblr content which is key to creating a "native land" for native advertising.