When I saw the headlines - Myspace selling unprotected mp3s - I thought that maybe we had a game changing event happening:
In a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes, MySpace has announced its intention to sell songs from the 3 million unsigned bands on MySpace.com. Even more surprising: the songs will be sold as unprotected MP3s, free from DRM. MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told Reuters: “Everyone we’ve spoken to definitely wants an alternative to iTunes and the iPod. MySpace could be that alternative.”
That sounds interesting, and it definitely looks like a way for unknown bands to get a leg up - which is something I posted on the other day. However, reality set in by paragraph 2:
Mashable readers won’t be surprised to learn that the new feature will be powered by Snocap, the music distribution service from Napster founder Shawn Fanning. Snocap only recently launched a MySpace music player, which allows users to buy unprotected songs via Paypal. Snocap charges the artists a small distribution fee, and most of the tracks are DRM-free. Unlike the fixed-price model of iTunes, artists on Snocap set their own price. Once the service is live, DeWolfe wants to add copyright-protected songs from major record companies, and it’s rumored that MySpace has spoken to EMI regarding the move.
The pricing model looks interesting - a real market will open up that way, if Myspace goes through with that model. My cynicism kicked in with the major label bit - and copyright protection. That will mean yet another DRM scheme, and who knows what devices it will and won't work with.
Even with that, this is interesting news. If nothing else, it's punching some holes through the current layer of value subtracting middle men in the music industry.
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