MTV, VH1 and CMT Launch Artist Hub

After first creating websites for artists, MTV, VH1 and CMT are now offering an "artist hub" that will provide to artists opportunities on their respective platforms and additional opportunities with partners and brands. The hub is an extension of the artist websites MTV first launched last year that were followed by similar artist websites on the VH1 and CMT domains.

The artist hub takes these properties "back to our roots" of connecting artists with fans, said Van Toffler, president of Viacom Music Group, in a statement. The artist websites -- Artist.MTV.com, for example -- are also meant to connect artists with fans. Those sites are powered by direct-to-consumer company Topspin Media and soon allow artist to sell merchandise and tickets and collect tips from their artist pages.

Although there are many other places for artists to have an online presence -- Facebook, MySpace, Bandcamp, Reverbnation et al. -- these Viacom properties have the ability to create awareness. The channels are available in more 100 million homes and the network of music editorial sites attracts 8 million monthly unique visitors. One opportunity now being offered is rotation on MTV, VH1, CMT, MTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Soul and CMT Pure. Artists can use the hub to submit their music for consideration for placement in 1,200 hours of weekly music video programming. Artists will be chosen based on the activity of their MTV, VH1 or CMT artist pages.

There are other opportunities as well, such as music video and track spotlights on the companies’ various platforms, and opportunities with partners and brands. The first two partner opportunities are the chance of being an opening act of country artist Hunter Hayes and playing at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Brand partnerships are not available upon the hub’s launch but the company is in discussions and expects to launch sponsored opportunities soon, says Shannon Connolly, SVP of Music for MTV/VH1/CMT.

Artists will get paid for some of the uses of their music. According to Connolly, artists will participate in a revenue-share for advertisements that run against their videos on the Web and mobile. The ad-share system is still being built and will launch when the platform comes out of beta. On-air uses of music are strictly promotional in nature, however. "Each artist whose music is in consideration for placement in one of our shows is contacted and a license is negotiated with them individually, the same way we do today," says Connolly.