back to article MySpace Music leaves creators cold

What a pity that while raging against the (dying) major record label, keyboard warriors are content to see them gain more power over creators than ever before. MySpace announced its long-awaited music service yesterday, with barely a peep of protest. MySpace Music has the formal backing of three of the four major labels. The …


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  1. Andy Smith
    Thumb Down

    Doncaster Rovers?

    We've had more than 7,000 for the last 5 home matches, and 15,000 against Leeds on Tuesday...

  2. Paul Talbot
    Thumb Down


    There's no outrage because those of us who care about the issue to any degree won't be using this kind of service anyway. There's no point in railing against one corporation (News Corp) siding with others (the RIAA), and Bragg's comments have been dissected and pretty much debunked elsewhere anyway.

    All in all, it's a belated attempt by the majors to directly leverage a service whose usefulness caught them by surprise. There's plenty of (better) alternatives elsewhere for the independent -minded.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. Colin

    Quit MySpace

    Quit MySpace and move to a site run by musicians:

  5. arran

    could it be

    that hardly anyone actually uses myspace these days and as such its not important?

    or am i being far to simplistic?

  6. Howard

    Barking at the wrong tree

    From what I understand Major Labels usually hijack the royalty payments in the recording contracts as a means to recoup the advance payments made to the artists. So in most cases the labels will in fact cut out the collecting societies fees. So it does not seem to be such a big deal afterall.

    What is more interesting is the way that Jamba comes into the equation with their mobile consumer base.

  7. Mycho Silver badge

    Oh good.

    I hate the myspace interface and if my favourite unsigned bands all move to another service I will be very happy.

  8. W

    ... it is, at most, only worth X/2. End of story.

    >"There's no outrage because those of us who care about the issue to any degree won't be using this kind of service anyway". - Paul Talbot

    >"Major labels will jointly own the new service. There's no stake for the indie sector which invests in the "Long Tail"." - Mr Orlowski

    To tempt me as a customer, a succesful download service must:

    a) compete with ripping Amazon/AmazonMarketplace CDs on PRICE - that means £5 per 15 track album AT MOST,

    b) compete with ripping Amazon/AmazonMarketplace CDs on RANGE - that means offer virtually every piece of music released, be it from the publisher or a third party (I don't care, as long as it's being made available from /someone/ via the service),

    c) have no apparent DRM ('watermark' if you wish)

    e) offer, or be compatible with, free decent jukebox software to replace WMP or iTunes that:

    -i) seamlessly and flawlessly imports files into my library

    -ii) names and arranges those files to my specification, based on accurate metatagging

    -iii) automatically and virtually instantly detects all tracks manually added to my library folders

    -iv) allows drag and drop for ANY portable music player

    -v) allows me to re-download everything for a nominally small fee (1p per track)

    If, somewhere down the line, a physical CD can be sold at price X, then the data on it is, at most, only worth X/2. End of story. So, in a nutshell, I want:

    --1) a *Download this for half the price of the CD* button next EVERY *Buy* button on Amazon,

    --2) if the record companies can't be bothered to do the encoding and uploading in a hurry, then let us do it, and give us a few pence/"credits" for every track that we upload allow you to sell thereafter,

    --3) allow buyers to rate the quality of what's been uploaded, to deter any fraudulent uploads, and other buyers have something to go on when making make their 'caveat emptor' judgments.

    --4) PROFIT! (As long as you remember that your data is, at most, only worth X/2 GBP. End of story

  9. willphipps
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    Unsigned bands..

    It's crazy that unsigned artists haven't been included in this deal. You can see how much traffic they get:

    How will the royalty distribution pan out, I wonder.

    Will the new spin off make it harder for bands like Radiohead, Futureheads, Dolly Parton etc. to go it alone?

    No doubt the majors hope so.

  10. Mike Crawshaw
    Black Helicopters

    4 Strikes????

    Surely the BPI should arrange for them to be disconnected then!!!!

  11. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Barking at the wrong tree

    "From what I understand Major Labels usually hijack the royalty payments in the recording contracts as a means to recoup the advance payments made to the artists."

    You're forgetting there is a separate royalty stream that goes back to the composers. The majors can't and don't hijack royalties that don't belong to them.

    Which we can expect to see here.

  12. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Irrelevant

    "There's no outrage because those of us who care about the issue to any degree won't be using this kind of service anyway."

    Uh, huh.

    "There's plenty of (better) alternatives elsewhere for the independent-minded."

    That may be so. I think I understand your point. Which is that because you don't like or use MySpace, you don't care what happens there - even though as the market leader, its choices will influence every other independent site.

    I'm glad this logic ("Doesn't bother me why should I care?") wasn't more widely used in the debate about Phorm... :)

  13. Jared Earle


    ...and makes your breakfast at the same time? I want a Moon Pony!

    It's nice to dream.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Anything else you want?

    How about I come round your house, crack open the lube and bend over?

  15. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Crack open the lube?

    @Jared, Anthony -

    Actually, I don't think W's requests are unreasonable at all.

    If we permit a real market to be built from our desire to share music - a market with real money coming into it - then it should provide incentives for people to build real services. Then, if W's desires are unreasonable, they'll flop in the marketplace.

    But if the networks and the music business simply strike up a backroom deal not to bother each other (ie, "Covenant Not To Sue") there's no incentive for people to invest in service innovation. And we'll still be cracking open torrents that are missing or incomplete.

  16. Captain! I cannae hold her any longer!
    Dead Vulture

    Am I bovvered?

    Here's the thing. The only time I ever visit Myspace is when the website of a new band I am interested in hearing music from links to it with the promise of music. That's whether they're signed to a major or minor label.

    If they instead choose to link to a site that treats them more nicely, then that's where my eyeballs will go, and I will be all the happier doing so in the knowledge that a "fair trade" site and and an indie label will get my CPM+retail bucks instead of News Corp and a music major.

    Phorm, on the other hand, is an opt-out spyware service being put on my line by Virgin Media, who have signed me to a 12 month contract. I fail to spot the similarities that you've alleged in this interesting and insightful, but for some reason hubristic, piece. If the economists have it right, the free market should protect indy artists and labels, and punish MySpace.

  17. Captain! I cannae hold her any longer!

    Re: Re: Irrelevant

    So, how exactly do you think MySpace will affect these other sites of which you speak, other than to rub their hands in glee and then open up their arms wide to all the indy refugees that come make their site "the next MySpace" (their thoughts, not mine, necessarily)?

    C'mon, let's see the logic.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    summed up in south park

    season 12 episode 4 which is the latest one (you may need to get it from bit torrrent if you are not in the US).

    At the end for apparently no reason one of the kids goes into a minute long diatribe about the state of the internet as an immature distribution network for creative content as it has not had time for all these issues to be sorted out by market forces, ruthless market leaders or other factors.

    I cant say it better so go download it.

  19. Andrew Smith

    If I recall the same thing has happened on, it thrives on traffic from people interested in independent music but yet has only signed royalty schemes with the majors. But all these services are missing a trick, the second most popular online music store is emusic and they're independent only, really there must be something else to it.

    There is a pattern of exclusion emerging if there isn't competition and anti trust investigations in the next 5 years I'll be surprised and disappointed in the EU especially.

  20. ed

    @andrew smith

    people are getting confused here about what a royalty payment is.

    royalties are collected by the PRS (in the UK) and are distributed directly to the composers and performers (or their publishers: either way it cannot be used to recoup against costs). the record labels, whether major or indie, don't get a look in, as Andrew Orlowski mentions in his column above. last fm has reached a deal with the PRS so that it pays royalties to them (in the form of a licence), and so all artists will be compensated accordingly by the PRS.

    myspace is different: it does not pay royalties to anyone. currently, the royalty system works well and most artists strongly support it. what myspace and the majors appear to want to do is cut out the royalties, not pay the licence to the PRS and just hand the cash straight over to the majors.

    which is worrying.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Why isn't RIAA closing down MySpace for not paying royalties ?

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  23. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    According to something I read on a groklaw comment thread yesterday (In their "Newspick" item I think) there has been a US Federal safety net for independent and mainstream record artists.

    Some sort of tag like meta tags (I wasn't paying attention -it was just another swipe ar RIAA) I gather the code is not removable without committing a federal offence. Not that that would stop anyone. But it would allow deep tracking by the NSA or whoever, legally.

    Anyway, what musicians aught to do is tell their own managers if they have them, to get organised. No idea how they'd do it. But that aught to be part of their job description.

    If the managers got together to form their own online outlets there would be no problems for anyone.

    Until the next form of circumvention introduced by pirates.

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