MySpace Digital Music Service – My Synopsis

Not too long ago, I came across a storm of blog postings that all claimed MySpace was launching a new digital music service in conjunction with three of the four major labels. According to Billboard.biz, the new service will be “called MySpace Music, (and) the service is expected to be a one-stop destination for all things music, including DRM-free full-song downloads, ad-supported free full-song streaming, concert tickets, merchandise and ringtones.”

From what I understand, the new service is part of an effort by the major labels to turn MySpace into a revenue generator, rather than just a good marketing tool. According to the LA Times, the new MySpace venture is intended to take on iTunes. Here’s a link to the official press release.

From what I can see, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group Corp will all take equity shares in the venture. EMI is the only hold out, but they are in discussions with MySpace. What’s really surprising is that Universal Music is involved in the deal, considering the fact that they still have an open copyright infringement lawsuit against MySpace.

I’ve read widely varying opinions about this new service, varying from encouraging and positive to hostile. It seems like most of the hostility comes from the fear that this deal could hurt independent labels and artists somehow. I guess they’re worried about the indies being excluded from the revenue stream. Here’s a letter from indie digital music distributor The Orchard, which expresses some of these concerns. In response, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe exressed his commitment to independent acts, assuring that they wouldn’t be excluded.

Whatever. I guess in the long run, it could possibly make a lot of money for the labels, and it could possibly be good for music consumers (since all of the tracks they can buy will be DRM-free). I don’t know, though. I keep thinking of Shawn Fanning and Snocap. That obviously didn’t work too well. Even CD Baby didn’t want to deal with Snocap. In his blog, Bob Baker asks the question, “are MySpace surfers actually serious music buyers?” If you look at the miserable failure of Snocap, you’d have to say the answer is no. Bob thinks that the MySpace deal will be different. He says, “Yes, I know that bands have been able to sell downloads on MySpace using Snocap — a company that has had its struggles and is now being acquired by iMeem. But this MySpace Music deal sounds like it will be a far more prominent and potentially profitable tool.”

My personal opinion is that MySpace is still a great place for promoting your music, but I’m not sure it will ever be a place that music lovers go to buy music. All of my fans would rather go to iTunes to download my tracks, or Amazon to buy my CDs. So I really think the effects of this new MySpace deal will be negligible at most to independent musicians like myself. I’m honestly not so pathological against the majors that I automatically hate every move they make. In this case, I could care less.

Promoting my music on MySpace has definitely helped my career. I have more fans than ever now, and I’m doing more shows, selling more music. But I don’t depend on MySpace as my sole means of communicating with my fans. So if in the long run indie artists are excluded from this deal, I don’t stand to lose anything.

If anything, I might actually buy some of the music myself, if BearShare ever gets shut down.

2 Responses to “MySpace Digital Music Service – My Synopsis”

  1. 1 VL troy
    May 10, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Great article! But why?

  2. June 27, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I don’t understand. Why what? Why write it? because if you can actually sell music THROUGH MySpace, instead of IN SPITE of it, then that could benefit indie musicians and labels, which is one of the reasons I write this blog.

    Also, if MySpace ends up EXCLUDING indies from this deal, then that could obviously tilt the game even more in favor of the majors.

    Two very good reasons to write this article, I think!

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