MySpace unwraps online music store
MySpace has long been credited with helping to break artists such as Lily Allen. Now it's hoping to cash in on its popularity with the launch of an online music store.
The social networking site, which enables bands to upload tracks to their profile pages where they'll stand a chance of reaching a worldwide audience, has agreed a deal with three of the world's largest music labels to introduce an online channel -- MySpace Music -- which will go head-to-head with iTunes.
The popular social networking site, which was established in 2003 and purchased by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp in July 2005 for USD580 million, said on Thursday that it has agreed terms with Sony, Universal and Warner Music that allows it to license music from the firms.
Last week it was reported that the social networking site was close to sealing a deal with Sony and Warner Music to offer legal music downloads. However, a long-running copyright lawsuit with Universal was rumoured to have delayed the joint venture. It's believed that the lawsuit has now been settled thereby giving MySpace the go-ahead to formally announce its new music store.
MySpace Music will offer DRM-free music downloads and streaming as well as ringtones, gig tickets and merchandise. Details on pricing and exact launch date have not yet been released.
"Today represents the beginning of a new chapter in the story of modern music -- we're proud to announce the marriage of the world's biggest collection of music content to the world's most popular music community," said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace.
"Millions of die-hard music fans and artists already call MySpace Music home -- by partnering with these industry leaders our vision for MySpace Music as the definitive platform for unlimited artistic expression and unrestricted user experience is finally being realised," he added.
The launch of an online music store isn't unexpected and if anything is an obvious move for a site that's become popular due to its success in promoting bands like Arctic Monkeys. Moreover, the announcement follows the signing of a licensing agreement with Sony BMG last October, which enabled MySpace users, of which there are around 110 million, to access music from artists such as Britney Spears.
What's perhaps of greater interest to internet users is how the announcement will go down with other firms offering music online. Apple recently proposed a new deal which would see the tech giant charging a premium for iPod and iPhone devices in return for free access to its entire music library -- a move which the company hopes will encourage users to stick with iTunes.
Nonetheless, there's speculation that given the fact that MySpace's primary audience is also the most likely to purchase music, industry analysts are predicting that iTunes may have finally met its match.