updated 08:45 am EST, Wed February 20, 2008
MySpace Music Rumor
MySpace is currently in talks to create a music service that would offer both free and paid service, according to alleged leaks from those familiar with the negotiations. The social networking site is reportedly securing rights from all four major music labels for a simply-titled MySpace Music service that would allow it both to provide free, streaming music from its pages as well as paid MP3 tracks; the cost of the former would be offset by the advertising that already forms a staple of the company's web pages.
A potential also exists for an unlimited subscription service as well as band-related merchandise, according to the alleged insiders, though the former would likely require a platform-limited copy protection scheme such as Microsoft's Windows Media format, ruling out downloads that would be transferrable to iPod and Zune players.
The proximity of a launch for the MySpace service is said to be unclear, as MySpace's relationship with Vivendi continues to remain complex. The social network currently embeds TV shows from Vivendi's TV division NBC-Universal but is also embroiled in a copyright dispute with Universal Music that would prevent adding that label's content to a future service. Discussions are underway but may not resolve the issue.
While MySpace Music would directly compete with Amazon MP3 and Apple's iTunes Store, the goal of the proposed store would be to offer a competitive edge over Facebook and other social networking sites, many of which only offer limited if any music services. One of Facebook's closest parallels is iLike, an add-on application that allows users to stream some or all of a song from members' profile pages.