Music Marketing Author and Course Instructor
Well, there's certainly no shortage of news from the major labels lately. Following recent announcements from Warner (who are presenting a vague idea to charge people a flat fee for all the music they care to download from peer-to-peer sites), and Sony/BMG (who's head, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, revealed that he supports the idea of a DRM-free unlimited music service), The New York Times today reported that three of the four major labels (EMI is rumored to join soon) have struck a deal with MySpace to launch MySpace Music. The deal will be set up as a joint venture, where the labels will receive an equity stake, and MySpace will control and operate the organization. Reuters news service claims the service could launch in days.
Some interesting points:
The major's entire catalogs would be available.
The labels will stream their music for free, and be paid through advertising dollars (MySpace apparently makes $70 million a month in advertising revenue currently).
Tracks will be available for download DRM-free, so they can play on any MP3 player.
The labels will also use the outlet to sell artist's merch, ringtones, and tickets (which, thanks to the 360 deals the majors are going for now, will provide additional revenue streams for them).
There is also a possibility of a subscription-based component that would allow users to pay a monthly amount for unlimited downloads (likely through subscription DRM).
It looks to be a real win-win situation for the labels (as well as consumers), apparently made possible through Universal settling their 2006 lawsuit against MySpace for roughly $100 million (which is rumored to be part of the deal).
The only wild card is if folks can be convinced to actually purchase music through MySpace. Shawn Fanning's Snocap, which folks can currently use to create an online store on MySpace, has not been popular (check out what Derek Sivers, CEO of CD Baby, said about their past arrangement here).