MySpace Plays A Different Tune

Free and paid music downloads is a big thing online and there are many companies competing with each other to make a mark in this area.

MySpace, the top social networking website is all set to make its foray into the world of music. After capturing the social networking arena, millions of eyes watch this move to see how MySpace fares in the music business.

News Corporation, which owns MySpace, is expected to be joined by giants of music, such as Sony BMG Music, Warner Music, Universal Music Group and EMI, as minority equity holders. MySpace is noted to have had an issue with Universal Music Group earlier, with Universal filing a lawsuit against MySpace in 2006, charging it of encouraging illegal sharing of music and music videos, which seems to be a thing of the past now and forgotten. According to Reuters, MySpace has already signed up with the other three, except for EMI, with which talks are currently on.

As is evident, MySpace is looking all set to compete with the current music giant, Apple iTunes, which is one of the largest retailers for music in the US. According to Chris DeWolfe, co-founder of MySpace, this initiative will be a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes, which holds around 75% of the entire music download market.

The intention of MySpace is also to ease the restrictions on digital rights, which allow the playing of any downloaded track only on one device. Many iTune users complain about this aspect of music downloads and MySpace promises that their downloads will play on any device, including the iPod.

According to reports, the new service will probably be called “MySpace Music,” and will be integrated into the MySpace site. The new Los Angeles Times reported that MySpace Music would have both free and paid services. It will provide everything related to music, right from videos, digital music downloads, mobile phone ringtones as well as tickets for concerts. Music videos and music streaming would be offered free to PC users but may carry advertising. Ringtones, ring-back tones and downloads would be sold along with several subscription plans.

MySpace also has plans to improve the sales of recorded music, which have faced a slump over the last few years, what with the many file-sharing sites taking over.

Music is nothing new to MySpace. It has a large number of users and music has been their main focal point and appeal. MySpace has also provided many new and established bands a platform to sell original music directly through their profiles.
Reuters reports that according to James McQuivey, Forrester Research analyst, he considers the creation of MySpace Music as the right step for music companies, but also noted, “Apple will not be affected for the first few years because Apple’s iTunes store lives on the strength of Apple’s devices.”

The big record labels are no doubt very happy to see MySpace getting into competition with Apple iTunes, as they hope to see Apple lose its strong grip and monopoly on the market. This could be what prompts them to get into this venture with MySpace, which also may be the underlying factor for Universal burying the hatchet on whatever differences they have had earlier.

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