Updated with comment from Cisco: Cisco and Warner Music Group announced today that the music company will roll out a dozen new sites dedicated to its artists using Cisco’s Eos SaaS social entertainment platform by the end of this year, adding to the five existing Warner Music artist sites built on Eos. The move signals Warner Music’s satisfaction with Cisco’s social entertainment venture, which was widely considered a bad move for a technology company that’s made its name as a switch-and-router maker. And according to Dan Scheinman, senior VP and general manager of Cisco’s Media Solutions Group, the company plans to announce partnerships with other entertainment companies in the coming months — which could throw up a roadblock for MySpace as it tries to regain lost momentum by reverting back to its roots as a niche site for music and entertainment.
Cisco CEO John Chambers told reporters that he believes the Eos platform will ultimately transform the entertainment industry’s business model by introducing new revenue opportunities online. For example, artists could offer exclusive merchandise for passionate fans on their branded sites that aren’t offered anywhere else. Warner Music Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said one of its artists, the rock band Paramore, put together a limited edition box set of their latest album and other paraphernalia for $39.99 and it’s outselling their $11.99 standard CD album on the band’s site by a ratio of 13:1. Warner Music said its artists will decide which business models they wish to implement on their Eos-powered sites, but like Facebook and MySpace, an advertising-based revenue model would be standard unless an artist chooses not to place ads on their site.
Scheinman also said Cisco plans to offer the ability for entertainment companies to syndicate out content from its branded sites, such as a video stream, to pages and applications on Facebook and MySpace in a bid to attract even more traffic — which could make MySpace’s planned journey an even bumpier one. Update: Cisco emailed the following statement:
We believe Eos will be a platform to help M&E companies create powerful online consumer and fan experiences, and that these customer sites (like those from WMG) will coexist with, not compete with, MySpace, etc. We believe there is a place for both My Space and Eos-powered online experiences and sites. We are not after their business.