Thursday, April 03, 2008

MySpace is all about the music

There's a couple of interesting pieces on the announcement of MySpace Music, a joint venture between News International, Sony-BMG, Warners and Universal. First up, Hypebot weighs the winners and losers - EMI being a prime loser. It seems that getting a new digital overlord onboard hasn't come a moment too soon for EMI, although it might have been a few moments too late. There's no structural reason why they're not part of the joint venture, which suggests that the team running EMI's digital strategy simply made a bum decision.

As Hypebot points out, they're going to join sooner or later. But not being part of the first wave makes them look like they've not quite got their act together.

More worryingly for EMI, their eventual elevation will be like the UK joining the EU - you can never, ever, quite make the place your own when you turn up when the party has already been running for a few hours. You're always on the backfoot.

Amongst the winners for Hypebot, perhaps surprisingly, is Facebook - the theory being that as this is a non-exclusive deal, there's now a model for them to use and precedents set. It makes Facebook Music a much, much easier sell.

Over on PaidContent talks to Chris DeWolf, MySpace CEO. He offers some reasoning as to why Universal woke up this morning as a company suing MySpace, and goes to bed as a business partner:

We went out and talked to our users, with focus group, polls and determined what was the optimal online music experience, especially in a social environment. Modern music is all about letting users define their own music experience. So we mapped that up, put that together, and then went to the labels, and said: ‘Here where we think the future of music industry should go, and here’s how it should look. Lets do this together.’ We spent the next few months putting together the business plan that made sense for us, labels and the artists. And we got the deal done fairly quickly, in music industry terms. I think they are all thinking the same way, and out of the box. CD sales are down 20 percent over last year and how do they replace it. We showed them a viable model.

We're not sure that a group of people thinking the same way can be thinking "out of the box", but let's not let a mixed metaphor drown out the sound of a penny dropping.

Caveats, though: This isn't the first trumpeting of a major MySpace music initiative: Snocap? MySpace's record label?

And, more to the point, it's not entirely clear this is doing anything more than finding a way to charge for the music that's already all over MySpace like a Geldof girl over a skinny-legged guitarist. It's certainly interesting, but we'll wait until the boom before we'll know if the world has shattered.

1 comment:

Amiri said...

The earth has definitely not shattered. It hasn't even shuddered, though this is one more in a long line of steps of the record industry toward the abyss of oblivion. This is just their attempt to raid the cookie jar, MySpace, which was ostensibly a home for independent artists, and all it does is show how desperate they are to maintain their declining market power. And the fact that MySpace is willing to let them raid their user base shows that MySpace is not really serious about the independent market. I wanna know where this deal leaves the 4+ million independent artists on MySpace, who will now have to cut through even more distractions as the majors spam and shill their artists all over the site? Those indy artists are left with nothing but shitty SnoCap deals and the MySpace "record label." Of course the labels don't like the deal they're getting from Apple, cuz they're greedy and want to charge more money for their subpar product. So, the MySpace deal can't possibly be better for the artists or fans! If this is anything, it's just more of the same, and if it's something else, it's worse for those who continue to play their game.

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