Indie labels sign download deal

After lengthy negotiations, the agency representing top UK artists such as Arctic Monkeys joins venture that will delight music lovers

A battle between independent record companies and online giant MySpace has been resolved this weekend after a year-long wrangle over money. The deal, which will see music from leading British artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Antony and the Johnsons available on the site, ends the latest skirmish in the war between online firms and the music industry.

When MySpace Music, which allows users to pay to download music and buy merchandise, launched in the US in September 2008, the partners in the venture included four major record labels – EMI, Warner, Sony and Universal – and a handful of independents. Many smaller record labels refused to join the site as they said that they were not being offered favourable terms.

But now, after a year of haggling over terms, the independent labels are at last to join the scheme. Among them is the independent music agency Merlin, which represents 10 per cent of the global music market, and, with it, labels representing British artists including The Prodigy, Adele and Franz Ferdinand.

The dispute between independent record labels and MySpace music was the latest in a line of clashes between file-sharing websites, online retailers and record labels in recent years, as the music industry has struggled to adapt to the growth of online music.

An offshoot of MySpace, the social networking sensation which launched in 2005, MySpace Music has 18 million users a month in the US, has recently expanded to Australia and New Zealand, and is soon to launch formally in the UK although surfers here can already browse the site. MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

"In the past three or four years, record companies have made several leaps of faith when it comes to doing deals with a range of online music services," said Adam Liversage, a spokesman for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the body representing record labels. "There are probably more music retailers online now than you'll find on the high street."

Charles Caldas, chief executive of Merlin, said: "We were very critical of the venture when it first launched. You had a brand based on the values of diversity of the music it represented, yet it was being done only by four record labels. The deal is important for our members and for independent record companies in general. It has taken about a year of negotiation, but we needed to strike a deal that allowed us to get into the merchandising opportunities."

The companies would not reveal the terms of the agreement, which will be announced tomorrow. "We're excited to have Merlin's labels join our platform," said Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music. "We can now provide our users with access to the rich catalogue that Merlin brings while simultaneously enabling Merlin labels to monetise their content within the MySpace community and easily track their fan engagement via our artist dashboard."

Music makers vs the internet

July 2000: File-sharing site Napster, which had 60 million users, is shut down after a legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America.

September 2008: MySpace Music launched with EMI, Virgin, Warner and Universal as main partners. Independent record companies claim they are being "shut out" of revenue streams.

October 2008: Apple threatened to shut down iTunes music store if the Copyright Loyalty Board ruled that royalties paid to artists must be increased.

December 2008: Warner blocks YouTube from screening videos belonging to its artists.

September 2009: Warner and YouTube strike a deal to allow the record company's content to be screened on the site once more.

November 2009: Internet users who illegally download music risk being cut off under new laws.

November 2009: Merlin and other independent record companies join MySpace Music.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all