MySpace Music may be in a strong position to influence the development of online music, but analysts and industry pundits appear underwhelmed by what’s on offer.
We know that 12 per cent of European internet users visit artist pages on social networking sites and that they are also more likely than all other online music consumers to pay for digital downloads and listen to online radio.
However, independent artists are already angry with the new MySpace offering as the service has refused to reach an equable deal with them. And they see this a potential collusion among the major labels, each of whom actually own a stake in MySpace, a place for major label friends.We think this scathing criticism of the service from Bob Lefstz is well worth repeating:
“Content is not king, distribution is. That’s what gave the major labels their power. They could get the records in the store and get paid for them too! But with anybody able to get their stuff on iTunes, the labels needed another monopoly. Hence, MySpace Music.
“MySpace Music is just as fucked up as the original MySpace site. With a user interface so complicated and so unintuitive that you bounce right off of it, to another site, the same way a meteorite bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere,” Lefsetz explains.
The famed critic also notes a typically annoying design feature in the site – users must keep clicking on the site to tell it they are still connected…if they stop clicking, the music stops playing – so music fans will be confined to the computer, and unable to walk around the house while they listen to those music streams.
Lefsetz says he hopes MySpace Music fails – partially because of the double standard with which the independent labels are being treated and partly because of one huge – and, we think, frankly despicable, change in the serrvice…
Musicians can no longer give their own music away, even if they want to – and this is something that MySpace users have been enjoying for years, finding new bands, downloading their music legally and then telling them how great they were at the very next gig. Anyone here remember the Arctic Monkeys?
And there’s more. “The ads cheapen the product to the point where the site has no soul. It’s only about the money,” Lefsetz says.
Well, as one who remembers some of the events in Wapping, I’m not wholly surprised at that from a company like News Corp.
In related news, MySpace has announced that it has already streamed over a billion songs from its new MySpace Music service, with urban artists leading the field.
MySpace will stream the new Oasis album this week.