Sprint has signed on as the first company to underwrite a song to be distributed on file-sharing networks, agreeing to embed its logo on copies of tracks from Atlantic Records hip-hop artist Plies, sources told The Post. The move represents another example of the music industry's evolving view of peer-to-peer networks as a potential new source of revenue instead of the bane of its existence. Sprint and Atlantic Records are teaming with ArtistDirect's Media Defender division for the initiative, which essentially amounts to an advertising buy for the telecom company.
According to sources familiar with the deal, Media Defender will push 16 million Plies song files embedded with the Sprint logo onto peer-to-peer networks over a three-month period in return for a "substantial six-figure" fee to be divided between Media Defender, Atlantic Records, Plies and his publishing company. Once embedded, the Sprint logo will be attached to the files forever and will appear alongside Plies' name and the song title on the screen of a desktop computer, iPod, cellphone or any other digital music player. The vast share of music consumption, particularly for the under 35 set, is done on file-sharing networks.