News corp, the parent company of social networking major MySpace, has announced details of a partnership with major record labels to provide a new service called MySpace music. The service would provide streaming free music to users and could be ad-supported with purchase options being available as well.
News Corp. has tested the record industry’s interest in a site that would offer music in several different ways, including ad-supported downloads and streaming to PCs, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. This may be why PaidContent reported that News Corp. was proposing an ad-supported download service while the blog Silicon Alley Insider said the company was backing a streaming service.
News Corp. has also broached the idea of a streaming service that featured a prominent “Buy Now” button that allowed users to purchase songs off the site, another source said.
The talks were held with music labels Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. , EMI Group Ltd and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann AG.
Social Networks have one major advantage to offer businesses – there are confirmed users to whom you can pitch a new offering. The move by News corp in the online music retailing business brings competition to Apple’s iTunes and experts are right in pointing out that such services will always ensure competitive pricing.
Also, MySpace had its roots in Music. And it is hoped that extending the present service to the long tail of music talent would make MySpace differentiate from other social networks such as FaceBook.
Online music retailing is big business, considering the recent announcement from Apple (IHT):
In a sign of how quickly the landscape is shifting, Apple, which created the iTunes Store, said Thursday that it had surged to become the largest music retailer in the United States, surpassing Wal-Mart for the first time, based on data from research firm NPD Group for the first two months of this year.
Another news relevant to online music is the moving out of Google CIO Doug Merill to EMI to take over the newly created post of President of Digital Business. There is indeed a lot of focus on getting the digital side of music to kick off.
Merrill said that he has a passion for music and for “creating platforms and tools that make it easier for consumers to achieve their goals”.
At Google he was one of 12 executives responsible for managing the corporation’s powerful engineering department.
The question is whether other social networks will follow suit with music services of this sort?