updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu April 3, 2008
MySpace Music Today
MySpace's frequently rumored music download store could launch as early as today, according to a rumor put forward by CNET. The publication claims to know sources who say that an initial announcement is planned that will expand the site's currently hands-off music section into a service that offers a combination of downloads and streams. Mirroring past stories, the feature would allegedly let users either pay to download full MP3 songs and ringtones or else stream songs for free on the web. Users could also buy their concert tickets directly from the site.
The social network is also said to have overcome licensing barriers, having already signed music catalogs from Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner; EMI is not yet onboard but is in the late stages of completing an agreement. Also repeating past rumors, the new report claims that each label would have a minority stake in the venture and therefore share revenue independent of their specific sales.
The Universal deal would represent a key breakthrough, as the label recently sued MySpace for copyright infringement but is now said to be receiving a large settlement.
A launch for the store would not come right away and is instead planned for coming months.
MySpace's store is already being positioned as a likely competitor to iTunes, which the major labels have sought to undermine in recent months by offering DRM-free tracks to initially smaller but promising digital stores such as Amazon MP3 and Wal-Mart. A MySpace service is seen as a way of gaining immediate, widespread exposure for a music service to its core audience. A Facebook store has also purportedly been in development but may not be as close to launch as the MySpace feature.