The 46 million people who play FarmVille every month are getting an eccentric new neighbor. This morning, social gaming company Zynga announced a partnership with Lady Gaga, which will allow users to stream songs from Gaga's forthcoming Born This Way before the album is released on May 23. Players will visit a neighboring farm, "GagaVille," where they can undertake lightweight tasks to unlock tracks from Born This Way. It's not the first time that a musician has partnered with a gaming company — Guns n' Roses released "Shackler's Revenge" on Rock Band 2, and Zynga worked with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on partnerships through their popular Mafia Wars game — but given the near-messianic cult of Gaga and the massive FarmVille user population, it's certainly a noteworthy moment in the evolution of pop music branding.

Raquel di Sabatino, a spokesperson for Zynga, describes the partnership as "a fantastic collaboration…a meeting of the minds." Lady Gaga had worked alongside Zynga in the wake of the tsunami devastation, donating $750,000 towards Zynga's efforts with Save the Children. Gaga has also been at the forefront of utilizing social media to expand her brand. (Her Twitter page is fast approaching 10 million followers, a number that currently outstrips the followers of a certain smooch-happy tween moppet.) GagaVille is intended to represent iconic elements from Gaga's music, particularly the motorcycle/leather/chrome aesthetic of Born This Way. Players will be able to get special codes for specific Gaga-themed virtual items. (One item will particularly resonate with anyone who has been fascinated/disturbed by the cover artwork: a sheep on a motorcycle.)

Says di Sabatino, Gaga is "so excited about this partnership. She's been seeing the things we've been building and is so thrilled with how things have culminated." GagaVille will disappear after May 26, but it will be interesting to see how the FarmVille nation responds to this multimedia venture. Gaga fans, will you join FarmVille for a chance to hear some of her songs before their release?

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