Over the last several years there have been a lot of companies that simply don’t understand the marketing opportunties that exist in a web 2.0 culture. Whether it was NBC not grasping the promotional value of having their Lazy Sunday clips on YouTube or EMI’s attempts to get the Grey Album mashup by DJ Danger Mouse censored from the internet, we’ve seen a lot of media companies choose to forgo free advertising in a desperate attempt to try and keep content locked within their own walled gardens.

Fortunately though there is at least one company out there that recognizes the opportunity that exists when artists partner with web 2.0 and they are taking some pretty interesting steps to help independent artist get new found exposure. Sonific is a company that is trying to help artists leverage the mashup culture by making it easy for people to integrate independent music into the web in a free and legal way. The advantage for a blogger using Sonific’s web player is that they get access to a database of over 40,000 songs to share with their readers without having to worry about copyright issues. The advantage to the artist is that it provides them with free media exposure and gives them an online distribution channel that they can sell downloads from.

In a lot of ways, Sonific’s business plan reminds me of what the radio is suppose to be. A place where consumers can hear good relevant music and an opportunity for artists to try and convince consumers to purchase their album. While some may fear that giving away free streaming music will take away incentives for consumers to actually purchase an album, I think that this thinking is short sighted. By letting consumers share good music online, more people will discover a band and this pays off in a number of ways. If someone likes a band, they will support that artist even if there are ways that they can get the music for free. Instead of freaking out and restricting the content, artists can make more money by building that fan base and selling more concert tickets, iPod downloads and future albums.

Whether it ends up being bloggers sharing their music with readers or Ebayers using the Sonific web player in auction listings, it’s nice to see a company out there that understands the partnership potential that comes from sharing with the rest of the web.