3 Questions for Shannon Connolly, SVP Music Strategy for MTV/VH1/CMT on New Artist Hub

image from www.billboard.bizToday Viacom music properties including MTV, VH1 and CMT expanded their
artist/fan hub
to include direct opportunities for artists across the
company's many online, broadcast and live channels. To learn more, we asked Shannon Connolly, SVP of Music Strategy for MTV,VH1 and CMT about how the artist opportunities hub encourages fan participation, brand involvement and direct to fan sales on the sites.

Hypebot: A major component of the expanded artist hub is fan engagement.  How
have fans been using the sites, and will they be part of choosing which bands
are chosen for various opportunities?

Connolly: We’re seen strong fan engagement from the day we launched in beta,
about 7 months ago. Currently, we have more 2 million music fans coming to the
artist platform each month, and on average, they're spending over four minutes
per visit. That means not only are they watching videos on individual artist's
pages, they're navigating between different artist pages pretty fluidly, using
features like "similar" and "home town" and "year
started." This means the incredible traffic we see for an artist like Macklemore & Ryan
will spill over to a similar but lesser known artist like Blueprint.
image from www.hypebot.comThat's why we built
the platform – for those serendipitous connections and moments of

Hypebot: Brands are also part of your overall strategy. Can you explain a
bit more about how that will work for artists.

Connolly: Increasingly, we are hearing from our advertising partners that
they are see value in linking their brands with artists and genres on the rise.
With the launch of artist opportunities, we have the potential to work with
brands to help find the artist that best suits their needs/goals and then
create  custom campaigns with tremendous scale that could play out across
all of our platforms and screens.

It's incredibly exciting actually,
because we can pair our trusted A&R services with a television and
web-platform with tremendous scale. There aren't many other places brands can
get that today. We're in conversations with several brand partners and cant'
wait to bring these opportunities to our community of 20K artists (and

Hypebot: The announcement mentions plans for an artist commerce tool.  What do you

Connolly: With our partner, Topspin, we'll be launching tools that allow
artists to sell digital products directly to the CMT/VH1/MTV audience. Physical
products will soon follow. We're also in discussions with some of the top
digital and physical commerce providers about integrations that would yield
revenue for artists and give fans a seamless way to support the artists they

MORE: MTV, VH1, CMT Debut Free Artist Opportunities Hub

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