Britney Spears has launched a line of branded virtual goods on Facebook, making her the biggest-name artist yet to team up with the social network on an e-commerce play. The $2 gifts include little profile badges like birthday cakes, which members can buy for themselves or for friends. Spears will roll out new gifts each month.
The gifts seem to be a promotional tactic aimed at drumming up buzz for the second leg of her Circus tour, but with nearly 2 million fans, Spears could actually generate well over a million dollars in revenue if even half of them bought a single gift each. This answers the burning question of how much a million Facebook fans could potentially be worth to a celebrity, and with all the emphasis on virtual goods and social games, I almost expect a stream of similar announcement from other celebs (Miley Cyrus? The Jonas Brothers? Twilight?).
Still, the news also raises two bigger questions. One is, will Spears (and other celebs) have to pay taxes on the revenue she generates from these virtual- goods sales? And even more importantly: will she be sharing any of that revenue with Facebook? (I’ve put that last question to Facebook and Spears but haven’t heard back from either.)