Licensing sucks. That’s the conclusion that I’ve come to. It means that we in the UK can’t watch any of the music and video-on-demand services from the States, like Pandora and Hulu. Given that most of the players involved operate globally, I’m amazed that global licensing isn’t more commonplace, but this post isn’t about licensing. It’s just that licensing is preventing me from giving you a proper review of MySpace Music – which launched at 8am this morning.
UK users who visit music.myspace.com can see the new design and functionality, but there’s zilcho content that wasn’t there beforehand. Sadly it’s the content that’s the exciting bit. In the States, users now have free, legal access to over five million tracks from majors, indies and unsigned artists.
Users can stream tracks on the MySpace site, with ads, or they can buy DRM-free tracks with links through to Amazon’s MP3 service. You can buy ringtones through Jamster, too, if the mood takes you.There’s also plenty of playlist-sharing functionality, and MySpace will be creating and sharing their own playlists. A nice mix of user-generated and editorial content, then.
There’s no word other than “soon” about when the service will launch to the rest of the world, but MySpace has said that they had a team of ten people working just on the deals for the USA. It’s unknown what kind of rates MySpace is paying the labels, but other streaming services have to pay per-stream – costs which can stack up enormously. MySpace has long had a good relationship with many labels. If it’s paying less for those streams than other companies, then there are likely to be regulatory concerns.
For now, in the UK, we just get an upgraded music player. No “buy MP3” or “buy ringtone” links, and no playlist functionality. For the time being, they’ll get no traffic from me.
UPDATE: It appears that the immensely useful ad-block extension for Firefox blocks the new MySpace Music player! Bit of an own-goal there from MySpace, it seems. Very surprised they didn’t test it with the extension.