MySpace to challenge for online music crown

Online social network pioneer MySpace has revealed plans to grab its share of the fast-growing online music retail market by launching a new music sales site.

The New York Times reports that MySpace has partnered with big music labels such as Sony BMG, Universal Music, and Warner Music to launch the site, which will build on the music and social networking activity in the MySpace and MySpace Music sites.

The big music companies will take an equity share in the site, which will go head-to-head with the current leader in the online music retail space, iTunes, which recently announced it had overtaken Wal Mart as the single biggest music retailer in the US.

The profit model MySpace Music will operate on remains a bit unclear at present, but comments from MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe suggest it could work on a mix of free ad-supported downloads, individual purchased downloads and subscriptions to access the full catalogue. Additional products like tickets, T-shirts, ring tones and other music merchandise will also be sold.

“This is really a mega-music experience that is transformative in a lot of ways,” DeWolfe says. “It’s the full 360-degree revenue stream.”

The music companies, which will take equity in the site, are expected to make their entire digital music catalogs available for listening and downloading. The new MySpace Music site will be launched later this year.



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