Yahoo Music, USA Network Concoct Artist Discovery Plan

Fresh talent comes from all corners, especially in a multi-platform, user-empowered environment.  But sifting for true gems is still a difficult task, especially given the finicky tastes of most music fans.  Just recently, Yahoo Music joined forces with USA Network on a concept that aims to separate the wheat from the chaff.  The process starts with Yahoo, which will test listener feedback on independent and unsigned artists through its Launchcast streaming radio offering.  Launchcast allows listeners to rate the content they listen to, a feedback loop that will identify more promising artists.  Those acts will in turn be shared with USA, and mutually agreed-upon artists will be signed.  The music of chosen artists will then be incorporated into USA television programming.  “We’re thrilled to be involved in this innovative partnership that has the potential to create a new model for the way musical artists are discovered and developed,” said Chris McCumber, senior vice president of Marketing & Brand Strategy at USA Networks.

For Yahoo Music, the deal offers an important artist discovery experiment.  If Yahoo can spin a few artist success stories, it would alter the profile of the music destination considerably, especially given the fluid nature of roles and power dynamics in the space.  “As the music industry continues to evolve, the business of breaking artists depends on creative and integrated deals like this one,” said Jay Frank, vice president of Programming and Label Relations at the music destination.  “Yahoo Music is in a unique position to identify unsigned talent and now has a partner with the reach, content and expertise to help develop the next big recording artist.”  Once a crop of artists are selected, Yahoo will also promote the content, and further incubate promising acts.  After that, a broader portfolio of career development options may be considered, though the team did not outline later-stage specifics.