Last year the Recording Academy dipped its toes in the Web 2.0 waters. This year, it's jumped in. During the run-up to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy unleashed a swarm of new digital initiatives designed to extend the organization's presence and content to artists and fans alike. It's a branding campaign created to harness the power of social networks, which is where most music discovery, communication and consumption is taking place.

The various efforts include a revamped Grammy.com that includes a new video section and third-party blog contributions, a microsite called WereAllFans focused on user-generated content, an iPhone app that lets users predict Grammy winners, a Fan Visualizer widget that lets fans track the online buzz of their favorite acts, Grammy themed compilations and channels on iTunes and Internet radio stations like Last.fm, Twitter and Facebook profile, and of course three days of live streaming all the Grammy events.

Leading up these efforts are chief marketing officer Evan Greene and VP of digital media Peter Anton, who were most recently at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showing off many of these new features during a press event at the Venetian. The two outlined the full digital strategy with Billboard recently as they geared up for the spotlight on Jan. 31.

You started out with Facebook and Twitter. What's the next step of your digital strategy, both for the Grammy's and the Recording Academy overall?

Evan Greene: From a broad marketing and brand perspective, last year we were really trying to find our footing in the realm of social media. We were very pleased with the result, but since then there's been a more dedicated effort and it's become a central tentpole of our overall marketing strategy. Look at the numbers between last year and this year. We've now got close to 35,000 Twitter follows and up to 100,000 friends on Facebook. We're sort of undergoing this revolution of social communication and social media is right at the center of that.

What's the goal behind this focus on social media?

Greene: We created a campaign for this year's Grammy Awards that really pays homage to that. It's called We're All Fans. It's a complete integration of social media and advertising in a way that's never been done before. It really speaks to how we see ourselves as a brand and our relevance in culture. It's a sign of things to come for us. The entire campaign is built from the building blocks of individual fans' social media, and that really speaks to who we are and who the artists are. We are as part of the social conversation as we've every been, probably more so.

Peter Anton: One of the things we sought to do right out of the gate was to make sure that everything Evan mentioned carried the same look and feel of the We're All Fans moniker. If you look at our microsite, our Facebook page, our YouTube page, every on carries the same look and feel and extends our brand across everything we do.

From a technology standpoint, we built a platform for Grammy.com that can continue to grow beyond the show. It makes it easy to update for one thing. And since we're in the social fabric, we want to be able to enable users to be more interactive with us as an organization. That includes enabling folks to comment on photos, video, and things of that nature.

What did you learn over the past year that's contributed to this effort?

Greene:It was a big decision for the Academy, as a pretty traditional conservative institution, to decide to get involved in social media to begin with. We've been observers of the digital conversation about music for a long time. Now that we decided to get involved, there's a two-way conversation where we had to be prepared to hear the good and the bad and recognize that not everybody engaged with us were going to be positive. It was eye-opening for us that-even though there were some things to say that weren't positive-there was an appreciation and respect that we were willing to have that two-way dialogue. It didn't feel like it was a big institutional message. It felt organic and natural and people really responded to that.

Talk about how the We're All Fans Web site, the iPhone app and Fan Visualizer illustrate this goal?

Greene:There's never before been a time in our history that fans have been more engaged, more empowered, had more to say, and had more influence and impact over the success of a brand or idea or concept. Recognizing that and embracing that made us realize we had to deepen that connection. Last year's campaign was all about celebrating the music and finding out what inspires artists. This year we peeled the onion a couple of layers back and asked what makes an artist popular, what makes an artist a celebrity, what makes an artist an icon? And the answer was always fan. It became clear that fans were so central to everything we do. Today you can literally send a message to your favorite artist and have them respond to you. That's never happened before. This is really an extension of what's going on in society.

I understand how you're reaching out to fans. In what way can artists involve themselves?

Greene:We've engaged with a tremendous amount of artists. We encourage them to go to the We're All Fans site and send them the advertising that use their likenesses. They've been blogging and tweeting about the campaign. We did a TV spot with Lady Gaga where rather than break it the traditional way on CBS [TV] we posted it online and let Lady Gaga put it on her site. Within 48 hours, we had over 400,000 views. She got out and started tweeting about it. The artists are really supportive of what we're doing. For the Fan Visualizer, we're reaching out to a number of artists to see if they'll interact with it and put it on their site and let organically build as well.

Anton: The Visualizer is a widget, so you can share it, which is another way to make it get beyond where it originates.

What other initiatives should we look for as the year unfolds?

Greene:I think Peter and his team have done a remarkable job bringing the vision to reality. If you look at Grammy.com now compared to what it looked like 30 days ago, it's like night and day. You're going to see an extension of what we're doing. Our social media efforts are not only around the show, but they take place all year and build to the show. I think it's safe to say from a brand standpoint, we're going to continue a strong relationship with consumers not only online, but live music events and other initiatives that will continue to unfold.

Anton: we're continuing to refresh and grow out Grammy.com. the taxonomy now is different than it sued to be. IT allows us to use Web 2.0 tactics to bring content front and center to consumers in a more digestible way. We're creating channels to help consumers find content more quickly. That's just going to continue grow and expend. And since we're now registering users, we can start communicating them in a more meaningful way long term. The future for me over the next year is to continue to build out the platform and provide consumers with a more meaningful way to communicate with us and get content they're seeking out.

How have these digital initiatives changed the way the Grammy's are produced?

Greene:There are a lot of conversations going on right now about how technology is changing the way we do everything. Nothing we can really share right now, nothing definitive. But we are looking top to bottom across everything we do at the academy how to streamline things and make it better. This techy focus is not a short-term commitment, it's a long-term focus that is now integrated into everything we do.

One of the things that's going to become increasingly important for us is our content distribution strategy. The Grammy's have some of the most valuable coveted music content available anywhere. To effectively distribute that and get it in front of fans since it first aired on TV is going to be another important component to how we maintain a relationship with fans.