That's MySpace! Murdoch site aims to make music work

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The Independent Online

Less than five years after MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch for $580m (£348m), the social networking site will tomorrow attempt to resurrect its status in Britain, enthusiastically aided by such music stars as Kasabian, Chipmunk and Florence & The Machine.

The launch of MySpace Music is critical to the fortunes of an online empire that has in the last two years been left trailing by Facebook, which has 23m users in the UK compared to its rival’s 13m accounts.

The new service is a joint venture with the four main global record companies and includes unlimited free streaming of videos, official back catalogues of bands, tour details and charts from 25 countries in 22 musical genres. Users are encouraged to explore music by sharing play-lists and following the videos that their friends are watching. The site also incorporates an Artist Dashboard, a tool for the bands themselves, enabling them to monitor demographic information on their core audience.

Introduced in America just over a year ago, MySpaceMusic is outperforming rival sites such as AOL Music and Y! But the delay of the British launch means it must compete in a market where internet users have become used to streaming their music on a wide range of sites that includes Spotify, We7 and MixCloud.

Harry Cymbler, founder of media PR agency Hot Cherry said MySpaceMusic would need to fight hard to get established. “In recent years MySpace has suffered a decreased audience share; the brand looks lost,” he said. “Consumers are changing the way they choose to engage with artists and receive music - think Spotify which, whilst still in its infancy, has attracted massive attention.”

But MySpaceMusic, a site dedicated to “the socialisation of music” according to its president Courtney Holt, is a collaborative exercise that integrates the Twitter streams of artists and enables users to download music from Apple’s iTunes.

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