by CIO Staff

MySpace to Sell DRM-Free Music Downloads

Sep 06, 20063 mins

Music conductor
Credit: Thinkstock

MySpace, the uber-popular social networking site, on Tuesday began selling downloads of music produced by unsigned bands, and the downloaded songs don’t include any digital rights management technologies to prevent them from being played on certain computers or music players—a feature that music enthusiasts have blasted Apple Computer for including on selections obtained from its U.S. market-leading iTunes Music Store, USA Today reports.

The announcement comes about a week before Apple is expected to announce a number of new products and services, including its next-generation iPod nano and the addition of movie downloads to its iTunes service.

According to a July research report by market analyst Hitwise, MySpace topped Yahoo’s e-mail portal in page views for the first time during the week ending July 8, 2006. Over the past few years, Yahoo has held the title of most visited page in the United States—and its combined network of Web locales still tops—but the popular social networking site is clearly giving it a run for its money. Countless music services have challenged Apple in the download space, and none successfully carved itself a significant piece of the digital download pie, but with a monthly user base of 50 million visitors, according to USA Today, MySpace could prove to be a serious contender.

Chris DeWolfe, MySpace chief executive, aims to morph his site into the largest digital music store on the Web, according to USA Today. 

“We’re the biggest music site now. Converting to the biggest music store would be a natural progression,” DeWolfe said, according to USA Today.

Snocap will provide the technology for MySpace to sell music, and the tools it provides will enable users to employ their own e-mail accounts, websites or blogs to help sell content via the service, USA Today reports. 

Currently, artists or record labels interested in selling content on iTunes need to undergo tedious processes, but they’d need only register on Snocap’s website to get started with the MySpace service, according to USA Today. Once users have registered and their songs have been uploaded to the Snocap system, they’re provided tools to help build the appropriate computer code into their websites or blogs to sell their music, USA Today reports.

Snocap and MySpace will take 45 cents from each purchase made via the service, and song prices are to be set by the specific artists or vendors, according to USA Today.

In related news, SpiralFrog, an advertising-based music download service expected to launch in late 2006, said this week that it has expanded its music catalog with a new deal under which it will offer EMI music for free download.  Just last week, SpiralFrog announced a similar deal with Universal to offer its music content for free.

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