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September 27, 2008

MySpace Music

So, MySpace Music has finally launched in a most unexpected manner ... how predictable.

All I know for sure is that since the launch I have not been able to listen to any music on MySpace. I click on the track, the player says "playing" but the slider doesn't move and no sound is made ... go figure ...

Several people have asked what I make of MySpace Music and I've been thinking a lot about it lately. I can see a raft of possibilities, but I think the most likely one is that the venture will fail for the same reasons that the SnoCap venture has failed: it fundamentally misses the point of MySpace and the ethos of the Web in general.

I can understand why the Major Labels et al want to get into a venture like this: it has the potential to bring iTunes back to the field and it opens up revenue streams that were previously obscured. But the way they've gone about it is typically ham-fisted and will probably alienate the sectors of the music-buying public that hang out at MySpace.

But MySpace is populated mainly by 18-25s who use it to define themselves and explore their social position. Much of that involves rejecting the dominant forces in their lives and actively seeking alternatives. It's a personal and social gratification, not one of acquisition.

So for the Majors to try to sell their mass-produced, mainstream music in to that space is unlikely to appeal to the people who hang there - those people are not there to buy, and they are likely to reject anything that's mainstream anyway. Further, for the majors to insist that the indies be treated any differently is just pouring fuel on the "Fuck the majors" fire that smolders in the heart of every online music fan aged 18-25.

By this reasoning, I think MySpace Music is ill-conceived, poorly executed and doomed. Of course, I could be wrong - time will tell.

Posted by Hughie at September 27, 2008 8:11 AM

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