Feeds

MySpace music deal poses multiple threats

Rivals iTunes and record labels

The essential guide to IT transformation

Comment News Corp's MySpace may just have found a way around the piracy laws that dog the sale of online music, and may, as a result, throw up the most likely candidate to challenge iTunes.

The answer seems to lie in the fact that both the bands and the buyers are all members of the same social networking service.

What MySpace has done is made it possible within its software for MySpace users to buy and sell from each other, in a single move making it possible for what some believe are as many as three million music bands, to sell to the entire 106m plus MySpace community.

These bands are in almost every case unsigned to any music label, and MySpace appears to be ready to make money from them without ever having them sign a recording contract.

"The goal is to be one of the biggest digital music stores out there," MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told Reuters. "Everyone we've spoken to definitely wants an alternative to iTunes and the iPod. MySpace could be that alternative."

We think the idea is to sell the music without any content protection, and let the bands decide how much each track or album will sell for. MP3 files will play on all MP3 players and unprotected on both the Apple iPod and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

However, given that Snocap, which has various copy protection technologies that it can work with, will manage the ecommerce service to validate transactions, collect funds and issue the digital licenses, there may be some level of watermarking or other protection involved, to limit piracy.

One source says eBay's PayPal online payment system is going to be used to actually commit the financial transactions.

It might have been more natural for MySpace to go with Google's new online payment system, given that Google has just cut a deal managing search advertising for MySpace, to the tune of a $900m a year, minimum guarantee.

The MySpace "distribution fee" for each song has yet to be fixed, but it is promised to be small.

MySpace said it would be "enhancing and customising" its online music store as the service evolves, aiming to eventually offer copyright-protected songs from major record companies with EMI being the obvious first candidate since it is currently talking to virtually everyone in online music sales.

At Faultline we take this far more seriously than, say, the recent launch of the SpiralFrog free ad supported music download service or the Microsoft launch of the Toshiba built Zune iPod killer, with a Microsoft online music service.

A browse through discussion boards suggests that many MySpace users love the idea that they can buy from MySpace,and already have many favourite bands on it.

Back in June MySpace ran a competition to find the most popular unsigned band and signed it up with record company Wind-up Records, which ended up singing Texan punk band Rockett Queen, giving it the chance to write the theme music to a new Fox film John Tucker must die, so MySpace already has a pretty good idea of whether or not there is sufficient interest in MySpace to drive music sales.

At that time over 6,500 unsigned bands submitted songs for consideration and if Wind-up Records signs up more of them, we could have a new music behemoth in just a year or so.

Copyright © 2006, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?