Apple’s new music recommendation service, Genius, which is built into the latest version of iTunes may have been one of the ‘wow’ factors at last week’s iPod event but this week’s launch of MySpace Music has a distinct advantage: the music recommendation power of a pre-existing social network of millions of music fans.
While the mix of music sales and social networks is not exactly a new concept – with Bebo providing downloads via 7digital and various plug-ins like Last.fm allowing indirect sales through Facebook – what adds weight to MySpace’s venture is the platinum sponsors in the shape of Sony Pictures, Toyota and McDonalds.
The music model, which will go live later this week, will mean ad-sponsored unlimited free streaming music from three of the ‘big four’ music labels: Universal, Sony BMG and Warner, while downloads to other devices will be fee-based.
Whereas before MySpace users could only add and share a single song on their profile homepage, the new model will now allow them to create and share whole playlists and this will be kicked off by Sony Pictures’ skinned user lists, while Toyota plan to sponsor free downloads.
With 72pc of the social networking market share in the US as of June 2008, Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing at MySpace has said that this will be the key to MySpace Music’s success – the aspect of a social filter, and a large one at that.
By Marie Boran