MTV has been talking about its latest music marketing initiative – First – which will use a mixture of traditional TV and new digital platforms to promote big albums ahead of their release. Mashable reports that Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande are the first artists to get the treatment: “We’re starting out with bigger artists and the plan is to continue to refine the program so it works for both superstars and emerging ones,” said parent company Viacom’s SVP of music strategy Shannon Connolly. First involves structured four-week campaigns leading up to an album’s release. In Grande’s case, it included a Total Ariana Live TV show; an #ArianaNOW social media contest across Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr; individual song and lyrics profiles across MTV, VH1 and brand partner Pepsi’s social media presences; and then pre-release audio and video streams on Grande’s MTV Artists profile, with Twitter joining in for promotion via its Amplify initiative. Other options include “taking over MTV’s Twitter account, Q&As, GIFs, backstage peeks and live performances”.