A popular online music series on Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is hitting the MTV programming calendar this month. Nissan Live Sets, an online show that Yahoo! launched last year with sponsorship from Nissan (NASDAQ:NSANY) North America, is coming to MHD, MTV's high-def channel.

Last year's season featured acts like Incubus, Maroon 5, and Christina Aguilera performing a handful of songs in an intimate 300-seat venue. Yahoo! then tried to pull as many of its other subsidiaries as possible into the promotional mix. From concert snapshots on Flickr to audience blogs at Yahoo! 360 to selling the tracks on Yahoo! Music itself, it seemed like an evolutionary, Web-friendly step after MTV's popular Unplugged concert series.

In that sense, it's fitting that the show will now make its way on to Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) MTV when it kicks off its second season next week. It's also timely. Justin Timberlake made a jab at MTV during one of his many Video Music Awards acceptance speeches a few days ago, asking it to play more music and less reality shows. This move may not be much, but it's a start.

The deal should also be great for Yahoo! Music, a subsidiary that has often been portrayed as a laggard and has been rumored to be on the chopping block. The show and its A-list performers will help build the brand, something that Yahoo! sorely needs right now.

It's not easy to compete in the music space when you are typically associated with being a search engine or a place to sign up for a free e-mail account. Yahoo! doesn't have the music-branding panache of a Napster (NASDAQ:NAPS) or a RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK). It also doesn't have the digital music ecosystem that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has harvested so brilliantly over the years. Yahoo! Music has longed for an identity. Nissan Live Sets has been a credibility builder on that front, claiming 10 million online views in the inaugural season, according to Thursday morning's New York Post story that broke the news.

The televised exposure, even if we're only talking about a 30-minute monthly snippet on a niche MTV cable channel, can only help. Maybe it's not too late to rewrite the famous "I Want My MTV" song with Sting and Dire Straits to go "money for nothing and your clicks for free."

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