Building on the success of FreeCreditReport.com’s three-year-old ubiquitous TV ad jingle, Experian Information Solutions, Inc. is using music as the foundation of its other consumer credit monitoring service: FreeCreditScore.com.

Experian launched FreeCreditScore.com in the second quarter of 2010 to shift focus away from credit reports—which consumers are entitled by law to receive free once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, including Experian—to credit scores.

The company has been under scrutiny since the Federal Trade Commission in 2005 accused it of deceptive marketing practices. The FTC alleged Experian did not adequately notify consumers they would be signed up for credit monitoring and charged $79.95 if they did not cancel the service within 30 days. Experian later settled with the FTC for $950,000.

While FreeCreditReport.com relied on music to make its TV spots likeable and memorable, FreeCreditScore.com is going beyond the screen.

Experian recently signed a first-time partnership on the Web site’s behalf with the South by Southwest Music + Film + Interactive Conferences & Festivals, which take place next March in Austin, Texas.

That tie follows FreeCreditScore.com’s sponsorship of the October-through-November Live Nation Fearless Friends Tour, which featured The Victorious Secrets, the band featured in FreeCreditScore.com’s TV ads.

The Victorious Secrets earned that position after winning a summer-long, nationwide band search conducted by Experian. The search featured more than 100 artists who entered the contest online or performed at events held in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

“Creating a positive association between making smart financial choices and music pop culture has generated consumer enthusiasm for our products,” said Marcy Smith, vice president of marketing for the Experian Consumer Direct unit.

“The old band that represented FreeCreditReport.com was immensely popular with consumers and had reached almost iconic popularity in advertising. When we launched FreeCreditScore.com, the timing was right to search for a new band.”

This time around, Experian saw the need to augment its use of music in ads with sponsorship, Smith said.

“We are in the midst of change in the media landscape. People are consuming media differently, and as marketers we need to look for ways to connect our brand with consumers.

“Music sponsorships provide a different way to help us communicate our product benefits to a new consumer audience. Sponsorship allows us to reach consumers where and when they are most receptive to our messages.”

Experian activated the Fearless Friends Tour with a band meet-and-greet and distribution of music download cards. The Victorious Secrets also included songs from FreeCreditScore.com’s TV spots in its set list.

Experian will activate SXSW by sponsoring the Independent Film Channel’s IFC Crossroads House. Attendees who visit the location can watch celebrity interviews and band performances, win merchandise and participate in other activities.

The partnership with FreeCreditScore.com emanated from the festival’s partnership with IFC, which had an existing relationship with Experian, said Scott McNearney, SXSW sponsors chief.

FreeCreditScore.com also sponsors a handful of MLB teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.

Experian initially sponsored most of those teams on behalf of FreeCreditReport.com, but changed messaging to the new brand this year.