We first heard about this last spring, when MTV first announced at SXSW their intentions to establish a site where artists (both major and independent) could connect directly with their fans. After several months of private beta testing of the site, MTV is now inviting others to get connected.
Comparisons to MySpace have already been swirling furiously (perhaps not such a good thing), but from early browsing of the site, it seems to accomplish a similar purpose, only much more streamlined. Artist pages are uncluttered and easily categorized, and the search function is so simple that you can just start typing the name of a band or artist and the search results will overlay upon the site.
As for the artists themselves, many of the most notable names in the industry already have pages (or had ones made for them), but any music artist or band can reportedly set up a page. Intentions are that Artists.MTV can be used by bands and artists to connect with fans, sell music and merch, and even book gigs. Artists will also be able to utilize the site to submit their material directly to MTV and its affiliates for various contests and competitions. And MTV is promising to share revenue generated from the site with the artists. Not a bad deal if it all works out.
Whether the new site will be able to rival the popularity of other fan-connection sites like Reverbnation and others (or what impact the MTV brand name will have on said popularity) remains to be seen—but first glimpses of the site itself appear promising. If you’re an artist who wants to try out the new site, you can get invited to the beta test by submitting your email.