How do you listen to music online now? A dollar a download? A limited number of song plays a month? A stream of music with a limited number of “skip this track”s? And your music videos—YouTube, maybe even bootlegs, right?
Just shy of six months after the announcement of an iTunes rival, MySpace Music launches, falling into none of the above categories. Add tracks to your profile, public, and private playlists and play them as many times as you want for free. (Okay, the dollar download, this time from Amazon, is still in effect.)
The initial announcement said MySpace was working on legal agreements with the major record labels, and it looks like they worked out. Financial Times reports that “The big three labels – Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group – together own about 40 per cent of MySpace Music joint venture” and EMI joined “at the last minute.” FT also says that MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe wants MySpace Music “to be the biggest music catalogue in the world.”
And here’s how it works (apparently I was lucky to go straight to My Music; otherwise it’s tough to find the music according to paidContent).
You can browse all music, or narrow it to songs added by your friends, or top songs in the “major,” indie and unsigned categories.
From the search results you can add the song directly to your playlist:
Or play it in a player in a popup window that also features updates from the artist, if applicable:
In the player, you can also add it to your playlist:
If you can’t find the artist you want, try searching by song title. For example, [The Who] returned only results for The Guess Who (um . . . close . . . sort of). Searching for [the seeker] returned a result for “The Who” by The Seeker, obviously a simple inversion of artist and title. For some odd reason, “The Seeker” by The Who has a profile:
I told you most of the soundtrack of my life was written before I was born! And, of course, that proclivity for “old” music also means I have some obscure favorites. If you’re looking for “This Heart” by Gene Redding, keep looking.
MySpace Music also comes with preloaded featured playlists, presumably from their partners:
MySpace Music also features free-to-watch music videos, shows, classifieds and forums, which link to preexisting sections of MySpace. Additionally, MySpace Music features a playlist integrated with your profile—but so far, although I have the “Display on my profile” box checked in MySpace Music, I haven’t gotten the player to load in my profile. (paidContent had the same problem).
MySpace Music is currently only available in the US, with further rollout anticipated soon.
MySpace Music has at least one advantage over its competitors, large and small: it already has a huge user base. But the real question is: is it enough to take on iTunes? What do you think?