MSN, Amex Team for Music Giveaway

MSN has launched a co-branded mini-site for American Express within MSN Music and will give away free music downloads to cardholders.

MSN and American Express created the “In the Mix” music hub on MSN Music, with news and playlists from established and up-and-coming artists. For a limited time, American Express customers can download a free song for every 10 they buy with their American Express card, and consumers who are approved for a new Blue from American Express card through a link on the site will be eligible to receive 10 free MSN Music downloads.

“We’ve really created in the mix as a destination where people can explore music they like and discover new music that they might not have known about,” said Gayle Troberman, director of brand solutions at MSN. “It’s the perfect fit, bringing together two great brands to create a great experience for the customer.”

In the Mix, a co-branded site for the adult alternative music genre, is sponsored by Blue from American Express and developed and hosted by MSN. In the Mix features articles, album release news and other happenings. Consumers can download music, watch music videos via MSN Video, and build custom playlists.

“What’s great about creating a brand experience like this on the Web is that it’s a few pages wide, but endlessly deep,” Troberman said. “There are unlimited opportunities to explore and discover niches and segments.”

Special American Express branded content will be available on the site including the “Blue 50” — a collection of the most popular downloads at the hub. Visitors can also influence the artists and songs featured on In the Mix through a weekly poll.

MSN’s Custom Solutions division was created a few years ago to work closely with advertisers on cutting edge online efforts, according to Troberman. The goal of MSN’s Custom Solutions division is “to prove what’s possible, and to prove what great marketing can be online,” she said.

The group creates about 25 custom advertising opportunities across the MSN network each year. This partnership with American Express is the first on MSN Music, which was just launched in September. Other destinations include a wine site sponsored by Gallo, and a luxury lifestyle site sponsored by Lexus.

“Music is going to be a big initiative for us,” she said. “We expect to see massive growth in the next year, as more young professionals are wired at home, and wired at work, spending less time at the clubs and more time at their desks. Their PC is becoming a life tool.”

As a consequence, the space that people spend so much time in is becoming more personal, Troberman said. “This is both a great opportunity and a challenge for marketers. We need to find a way to become part of the space by adding value without detracting from their experience.”

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