According to breaking news posts at Mashable and PaidContent, MySpace plans to start selling songs from the more than 3 million (3 million!) bands who use the social networking site. The site — now owned by giant media and entertainment conglomerate News Corp. — will be working with Snocap (started by Napster founder Shawn Fanning) and will offer songs in MP3 format, reportedly without digital rights management or DRM controls. MySpace competitor Bebo has already launched something similar.

Although the company is (naturally) pitching this as a competitor to iTunes, I’m not sure how much of a competitor it will be (Liz Gannes at Gigaom says it won’t compete directly because the major labels won’t want to give up their DRM). Out of those 3 million bands, how many of them are people likely to want to buy songs from? I think iTunes mostly appeals to people who want the latest hot single or a long-lost song from their youth, whereas the bands on MySpace are largely unknowns. That’s not to say the effort won’t help up-and-coming bands, as it has Fallout Boy or the Arctic Monkeys, but I don’t see that as necessarily competing with iTunes.

The ones who should really be scared of such an effort (if it succeeds) are the traditional record companies. As music-market middlemen, they are ripe for disruption. Mark Evans and Rob Hyndman have some thoughts worth reading as well.

About the author

Mathew 2430 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

6 Responses to “Can MySpace compete with iTunes?”
  1. 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 […] ” mathewingram.com/work, 18 hours ago Can MySpace compete with iTunes? — “According to breaking news posts at Mashable and PaidContent, MySpace plans to start selling songs from the more than 3 million (3 million!) bands who use the social networking site. The site —

  2. Can MySpace compete with iTunes? 1 hour ago by Mathew Ingram on Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work

  3. MySpace vs. iTunes?…

    In my Web 2.0 world, money talks as much as cool, new ideas. This is why MySpace’s move into the digital music business is so intriguing because it demonstrates another wrinkle of how one of the world’s most popular online destinations is tryin…

  4. […] Mathew wonders whether the low (or no) profile of those bands will allow the feature to amount to anything. Agreed, but much more comes to mind as well. How much can be accomplished without the (un)natural selection performed by labels? Quite a lot, I’ll bet. There are multiple ways that the cumulative effect of the selfish instincts of MySpace community members could be mobilized to improve the efficiency of finding and commercializing new music. […]

  5. […] [Update] BusinessWeek.com has a great overview of those clawing after iTunes. Matthew Ingram has a good take on the situation and believes the twu music stores are not in competition at all. […]

  6. […] Hey, MySpace is great and everything — although it got its start as a spam and malware-pusher, according to Trent Lepinski’s recent opus — and we all know that it is the largest Internet site by far (although there’s some doubt about that too) and that it plans to revolutionize the music business and likely many other things as well. But to say that the company can do just about anything that any Web 2.0 company does, because they all piggyback on MySpace? That’s a bit rich. […]

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