You say “social networks,” I say “CRM/surveillance.” Sure, the network allows the musician to disintermediate the process of selling her/his product, but to adopt the methods of the database marketers is a start down a very slippery slope: Musicians take social networking into their own hands (pdf)
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.”