September 25, 2008
MySpace Music is with us finally – see my colleague David Card's blog for detailed analysis. I have a few additional thoughts:
– MySpace are in a great position to be a force in online music. Jupiter just published a report today that reveals that 12 percent of European Internet Users go to artist pages on social networking sites and that these fans are amongst the most valuable online music audience. Just under half of them are under 25 and they are more likely that all other online music consumers to pay for digital downloads and listen to online radio. These are highly engaged music fans just waiting for the opportunity to make discovery driven impulse purchases. So besides the immersion into streaming and playlisting they'll add bottom line to digital sales.
– Audience potential aside though, I'm a little under-whelmed by the new offering – this does not look like the quantum leap from their current position that I'd expected. With the exception of a new audio player the music experience isn't going to look that different. Perhaps that's the point. Seems like a missed opportunity though.
– The Amazon hook-up makes sense I guess, but it's essentially only a very involved affiliate partnership. Do MySpace either not think Apple's dominance can be sufficiently shaken to justify investment in a proprietary store or do they simply not believe enough in paid downloads as a whole?
– The tie-up with Fox-owned Jamba for ringtones is an obvious move strategically, but ringtone sales are bombing so I wonder if the next logical step here is OTA downloads? Or even integration of Jamba's music subscription offering?
– There's no attempt to build in some sort of audio scobbler / Mogomatic / Genius type feature. Couple with the absence of an online radio offering, this suggests MySpace are pointedly not trying to carve out a share of the social music pie, rather enhance the music experience of mass market social networkers.
– I'm not clear yet whether this is US only at this stage (have a rearranged call with MySpace later, so more "after the jump") but it appears not yet. Perhaps it'll be used as a platform for Amazon's Euro launch? But even if not launched in Europe, there's a certain amount of "funkiness" happening. All of the songs were missing from a couple of major label artists this morning, though they reappeared midway through me writing this. From a personal perspective 2 of the songs disappeared on my artist profile (they're back now) but my first track has lost all of its "plays". Also as an unsigned artist, will I still get the choice to decided whether my songs can be added to people's profiles? Or is that part of a new set of T&Cs?
All in all, a decent and much anticipated step forward, but by no means the finished article.