According to an AP news story that ran yesterday afternoon, the upcoming MySpace Music service is definitely happening. Based on reports from music executives, who spoke only under the condition of anonymity, News Corp. has approached the four major record labels to discuss the launch of a music service that would operate via the MySpace social networking site. The executives also confirmed earlier rumors about the nature of the services that would be offered - according to them, the service will offer free streaming music, mp3 downloads, and a subscription plan. Can we say iTunes killer?
The four major record companies approached, sometimes referred to as "the big four," are Universal Music, Sony BMG, Warner Music, and EMI. These four companies would receive an equity stake in the new company, according to one of the anonymous executives cited in the news item.
According to initial plans being discussed, the new company, which will likely go by the name "MySpace Music," will offer MySpace's 68.6 million U.S. visitors an ad-supported music player, which could be embedded on other web sites or blogs. It's possible that this player could be from Snocap, since they are already powering the MySpace Music services that currently exist. There is also talk of a partnership with Amazon, in which Amazon would build a white-label version of their mp3 music store for MySpace, offering DRM-free downloads of tunes.
Although the initial reaction to hearing this news prompts most people to immediately think iTunes killer (which very well may be true), a secondary victim would be streaming music services and web radio services, like the currently popular Last.FM. Similar to the way that a Walmart comes into a town and mom-and-pops go out of business, I can see a possible impact on the smaller, niche streaming radio services...how will they compete when MySpace will offer it all - the big names artists and the independent artists?