Although not explicitly stated, it appears SonyBMG intends to promote it’s artists by means of hiring fake fans. Copied below is a summary of the job ad which describes the position. We don’t mean to pick on Sony because it is pretty well known in marketing circles that “word of mouth” campaigns can be created by hired individuals very easily and I know from first hand experience that SonyBMG is not the only media company which employs this strategy. But what gets to us is that Sony has time and time again promised to stop deceiving it’s customers. From marketing movies to selling CDs to promoting musicians, will media companies like Sony ever concentrate on developing talent and quality work instead of trying to dupe customers or pay off radio djs? nytimes brief, Sony admits fake fans on ad, Sony fined $1M for lying

Unpaid Shills Wanted Sony BMG, fresh from being exposed by a blogger for planting stealth, and potentially dangerous, antipiracy code in some of its CD’s, is seeking interns to plug its artists online. The interns will promote artists in Web communities where many people go specifically to share music without the influence of corporate marketers. “Do you blog, have lots of friends at your MySpace page, and love music?” its ad at asks. Epic Records, a Sony BMG imprint, “is looking for skilled, motivated interns to promote artists on social networking sites like MySpace, Purevolume, Facebook and others.” The ad doesn’t say whether the interns will identify themselves to their online “friends” as agents of Sony BMG. But they’ll get college credit (for this unpaid job, Sony BMG only wants applicants eligible for that) and a bullet point for their résumés, so what’s the difference?