Timberlake’s Myspace faces trouble from independent music labels

21 Jan 2013

There are about 53m songs available for listeners on Myspace, which would make it one of the biggest online music libraries out there. However, the rebooted social network now faces trouble from independent labels seeing their artists’ songs used without permission.

Independent music rights agency Merlin Network once had a deal with Microsoft, however this expired more than a year ago and has not been renewed with the platform’s reboot. However, Merlin claims that songs from more than 100 labels it represents are still available for listening on Myspace, The New York Times reports.

The non-profit organisation represents more than 12,000 labels, aggregators and rights representatives in more than 25 countries, serving as a central point of contact for licensing music from its member labels, which include Rough Trade, Domino and XL Recordings.

Merlin sees this as exploitation of artists’ work without permission or remuneration, while Myspace responded to say the songs in question must have been uploaded by users and that it will take down anything requested for removal by the group.

This issue has come to light following the rebirth of Myspace alongside the relaunch of co-owner Justin Timberlake’s music career. The social network was well-known as a launchpad for new music but its popularity began to flounder in 2008 when it was overtaken by Facebook as the world’s social network of choice.

Timberlake, along with Specific Media Group, bought up the network in 2011 and seems intent on relaunching it as a base for musicians and artists to connect with their fans.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.