updated 06:00 pm EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
MySpace may have unlimited music after poor sales
Industry contacts said on Wednesday that MySpace Music could turn to a subscription model. Backing an earlier story, the rumor asserts that the social network's executives have talked to labels about an unlimited service. Progress isn't known by CNET or others, but the new approach could be ready by the end of the year.
MySpace Music already provides streaming music for free, but only confined to the website and only with ad support. Use away from the computer requires that shoppers buy MP3 songs and albums.
The insiders portray the switch as a last-ditch effort. Sales performance has never been publicized, but it's largely accepted that MySpace Music hasn't performed well versus competitors. In the US, digital music is dominated by iTunes with Amazon MP3 a distant second. Despite MySpace's profile, it hasn't had the exposure that would have been attached to MySpace when it was launched. The continued rapid growth of Facebook has very likely been a major factor as many possible customers simply stopped visiting the site.
Ad-supported music has struggled to succeed in the US. It has been extremely popular in Europe through Spotify, but the format has mostly died in the US. MySpace itself hastened this along by acquiring iMeem, and Apple's Lala takeover eliminated another significant contender. MySpace owner and News Corp head Rupert Murdoch has often favored subscriptions for as much content as possible, but MySpace Music was launched at a time when pay-per-track was at its height and mobile music apps were still rare.
The music section's leader, Courtney Holt, claimed that there were "no plans" to adopt a subscription model.