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A View from Brad King

MySpace Tries to Tap Music

Social networking and digital music are two flavors that taste great together. Now each is reaching a critical mass online – and the big players are ready to make a run at consumers.

  • January 24, 2006

The first article I ever wrote about digital music was a very short profile in 1999 on Shawn Fanning, one of the two programmers behind the original Napster file-sharing network. While music had been both digital and online for a few years before that, it was Napster’s centralized peer-to-peer directory that sparked the online music revolution.

However, litigation from major media companies (and their subsidiary music divisions) stopped most file-sharing development in the United States (although, so far, they’ve been unsuccessful at shutting down decentralized networks). Instead of embracing P2P distribution, they’ve focused on services such as Apple’s iTunes, Real Network’s Rhapsody, and even Napster 2.0

Each company, in its own way, has tried to find a way to meld the original P2P networks – in some form – into their music sales; because everyone (even those pesky major labels) understands that the best way to sell music is to have your fans virally spreading the word.

It comes as little surprise, then, that MySpace – maybe the biggest, and certainly the most interesting (at times), social networking site – is getting into the music business. News Corporation, which purchased MySpace last year, hopes to create an entire music business within the confines of the MySpace universe.

This according to a BBC article quoting Fox Interactive Media president Ross Levinson:

“We’re already working in the US with CD:UK, which is coming over to the US, to be called CD:USA, and we’re going to integrate bands from MySpace into that programme.

“We hope when we go back to the UK to tap into how successful that show is. Hopefully they’ll want to market through MySpace and we’ll tap into the local events scene, parties, clubs, artists, film makers, television producers, so I think it’s going to grow pretty rapidly.”

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