Musicians start social networking sites

50 Cent has more than 1 million friends on MySpace, but if the rapper ever decides to leave the social network, he'll be leaving behind those friends, too. So like a growing number of artists, he's started his own social networking site. ( Reuters )

On Thisis50.com, fans can create profiles and friend lists just like on MySpace, but 50 Cent has direct access to the site's users and their e-mail addresses.

More and more acts, from Kylie Minogue to Ludacris to the Pussycat Dolls, are launching their own social networks, which are becoming a sort of next-generation version of artist Web sites.

The social networking component gives fans a reason to hang out on a site and visit more often than they would a standard Web site. And artists can sell advertisements on their sites and offer downloads and merchandise for sale -- options they don't have on MySpace or Facebook. Plus, they own the content and data on how fans use their site, which they don't get on other social networks.

"The thing that separates Thisis50 from MySpace is we control the e-mail database," says Chris "Broadway" Romero, director for new media at G-Unit Records, which handles Thisis50. "We can e-mail members if we want to."

Thisis50 isn't meant to be a fan club, but rather a platform for 50 Cent to showcase his music and music he likes, and comment on news and user profile pages. Ludacris' WeMix.com, on the other hand, is more of a hub for aspiring artists to upload their music.

The artist networks aren't meant to replace MySpace or Facebook, which tend to attract a broader audience and more users.

"(Artists) think about MySpace and Facebook as funnels for their own social networks," says Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning, a company that provides social networking tools for Thisis50, Sara Bareilles and others. "They take and use services where they don't know the users, don't have access and don't have full control, and funnel those fans to something they do control."

The key to getting users coming back to the sites is artist involvement, either through blogs or comments on user pages or exclusive footage and other content.

"The biggest thing we push to artists is, 'Embrace the site,'" says Evan Rifkin, CEO of Flux.com, a social networking platform partly owned by MTV.

It's relatively inexpensive to create a social network if artists use one of the growing number of companies that provide the tools and hosting. For instance, Ning charges $34 ( 17 pounds) per month for a site and hosting. And Flux works with artists and labels on a revenue-sharing basis. Artists can set up their main site for free and pay a percentage of revenue from advertisements and sales on additional pages.

Artists also tend to pay for labour to run the sites. But if fans get involved and add things to the site to share with others, it can reduce the need for staff to constantly provide new content, Romero says.

In addition, many artists are simply turning their main Web site into a social network. Suretone Records director of new media Ashley Jex says the label is working with Flux to incorporate social networks into all its artists' sites to cater to the hardcore fans and keep them clicking around.

With Flux, which also has deals with Universal Music Group and Virgin, users create one profile and with one click they can join the network of any artist using it, rather than having to create new profiles for each.

Ice Cube and DJ Pooh added a twist earlier in March, launching UVNTV, a broadband TV and social networking site where artists and brands can create their own channel and subscribers can create profiles and chat with one another. Artists get detailed information on their users and can sell advertisements, merchandise, downloads or even subscriptions to their channel. They also own and control the content.

"You know the demographic of anybody watching your content," DJ Pooh says. "You know what they watched and clicked on." The service is in beta and free to artists and is expected to formally launch in January 2009. So far, Snoop Dogg has a channel there, as does Ice Cube and such brands as RockStar Games and Source.

Even more important: Fans seem to be buying directly from the sites. On Minogue's KylieKonnect, launched in fall 2007 through U.K.-based New Visions Mobile, nearly 25 percent of users have made a ringtone, download or merchandise purchase, company director Julia McNally says.

Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for welding electrodes
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for welding electrodes
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for electrical spares parts
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for electrical spares parts
Uzbek currency rates for May 18
Uzbek currency rates for May 18
Loading Bars
Latest
US residential energy use falls 4 pct in 2020 - EIA
Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel
Int'l transactions in securities generate net fund outflow from Canada in March
Portuguese scientists create bactericidal varnish
UN agency to provide 706,000 USD to help South Sudan farmers reduce COVID-19 impact
Italy shortens COVID curfew, eases other restrictions
Aeroflot removes all June tickets to Turkey from sale except for two flights - airline
Ryanair posts record annual loss, hopes to break even this year
Turkey reports over 10 170 COVID-19 cases
Georgia will import an additional 1 mln doses of Pfizer vaccine in summer - PM Garibashvili
Kazakhstan strengthening interparliamentary ties with Lithuania
Activities in Iran’s Qeshm port soar
Resident of Azerbaijan’s Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park exports products to Italy
Azerbaijan sees increase in 4M2021 foreign trade turnover figures
World Economic Forum special meeting in Singapore to not take place
Kazakh, Polish, Ukrainian and Arabian airlines to resume flights to Batumi
Excess pesticide use threatens Turkey's bee population
Azerbaijan’s Baku Metro company opens tender to buy services to modernize railcars
Flights of light aircraft suspended in Iran
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 18
Georgia finalizing 10-year economic development plan
Azerbaijan's rating upgraded by Fitch Ratings based on maintaining economic stability - Unicapital
Forces envious of Azerbaijan's success trying to spoil country’s relations with friends - MP
Incident in Georgia purely domestic in nature - Azerbaijani MP
Azerbaijan developing program for transformation of healthcare system
Assistant to Azerbaijani president, NATO deputy Sec-Gen meet in Brussels (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan sends numerous appeals to int’l organizations about Armenia's war crimes
Bronze monument to world-famous Azerbaijani singer to be ready in a month - Trend TV
Command-staff exercises start in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan garrison (PHOTO/VIDEO)
EBRD loan portfolio in Azerbaijan shrinks
Iran reveals volume of crude oil to be transported via Goureh-Jask pipeline
Iran, Italy to expand economic ties – FM
Saudia Airlines eyes return to profitability by 2024
Azerbaijan Innovations Export Consortium eyes to expand co-op with Turkic-speaking countries
EBRD's net profit declines in 2020
Activity of Heydar Aliyev Foundation today covers all important spheres of life in Azerbaijan - Russian MP
Novatek to complete Arctic LNG-2 construction one year earlier
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Turkmenistan despite COVID-19
Turkish ŞINLAK HOLDING eyes building solar power plant in Kazakhstan
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for welding electrodes
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemical products
Iran's FM discussing international issues with Pope (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan’s Railways open tender for construction of railway station
Azerbaijan's oil exports decline in 4M2021
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for electrical spares parts
France, Germany and Spain strike deal over joint combat jet
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Azerbaijan reports sharp increase in 4M2021 gas exports
Uzbek currency rates for May 18
Uzbekistan Railways notes decrease in net loss
Azerbaijan Economy Ministry cancels requirement of several taxpayers for non-cash payments
EBRD approves working capital loan to Kazakhstan companies operating chromium mine
WTL talks construction of DC, SDA units at Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries
Uzbekistan, S. Korea eye enhancing bilateral co-op in public security
Kyrgyz Republic’s SMEs Sector to Benefit from ITFC’s US $4 Million Line of Trade Financing Facility
Iran unveils production data of steel products
Germany implementing pilot agricultural project in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan announces number of citizens vaccinated on May 17
Azerbaijan's 4M2021 revenues from gasoline, diesel retails disclosed
Azerbaijan confirms 426 more COVID-19 cases, 515 recoveries
Iran has potential to become hub for home appliances export
Railway freight traffic between Kazakhstan, Lithuania grows despite COVID-19
Russia ready to assist Armenia, Azerbaijan in border delimitation issue - FM
Volume of Georgian wine exports and its value up
Iran continues to import COVID-19 vaccines
Majority of mobile communication operators in world to support eSIM by 2025 - GSMA Association
Several types of COVID-19 vaccines delivered in Turkmenistan
Active work underway on construction of Pskem HPP in Uzbekistan
Uzbekneftegaz repairs unit for gas purification from sulfur at Mubarek Oil & Gas Production dep’t
Money transfers to Georgia up in April 2021
Lithuania looks to resume regular flights to Kazakhstan - ministry
Kazakhstan boosts mining of iron ores
Unemployment rate down in Azerbaijan
Turkish ambassador meets with head of Turkey-Azerbaijan Interparliamentary Friendship Group (PHOTO)
Baku Boulevard to remain open during 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix competition - Baku City Circuit
‘Nar’ team progresses to semifinal in ‘Brain Ring’
Value of chargeable services rendered to Nakhchivan's population in 4M2021 drops
Turkmenistan‘s Turkmenbashi oil refinery develops its industrial potential
Value of Azerbaijan's 4M2021 industrial production down
Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar Oil Chemistry Refinery to buy valves via tender
Indian Shilpa Medicare signs deal to produce Sputnik V
Petrochemical plants to be put into operation in Iran
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Belgium-made goods
EU agrees partial truce with U.S. over Trump tariffs
Dubai eases COVID-19 restrictions, allows full hotel capacity
Azerbaijan announces 4M2021 investments in fixed assets
Azerbaijan to hold auction for shares of joint stocks companies
Azerbaijan announces tasks for using renewable energies in electricity production
Georgia's electronics market shrinking
Cargo transportation volumes surge in Kazakhstan
GPON-based technology being introduced in villages of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Iran anticipates another JCPOA Joint Commission Meeting - MFA
No alternative to implementation of trilateral statement on Karabakh - Russian president
Azerbaijan preparing to vaccinate citizens with Russian 'Sputnik V' COVID-19 vaccine
Convention on simplification of customs procedures enters into force for Uzbekistan
Iranian Oil Minister talks about exports, contracts in oil sector
GSMA predicts growth in number of mobile service users in Azerbaijan by 2025
Polish company eyes producing packaging materials for automotive industry in Uzbekistan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 17
Weekly review of Georgian's capital markets (May 10 through May 14)
All news