Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably had a chance to check it out or at least noticed the large amount of buzz the service has gotten over the weekend. Even so, many do not know of the updates features the service offers, so let’s do a quick rundown of what you can find at the new MySpace Music.
First, MySpace has made a deal with the 3 major labels months ago (and recently got EMI on board in addition to indy catalog The Orchard) to stream music from their catalog for free.
That’s right – I said free. Search for an artist, find the song, and it opens a music player for you to listen to. This works in a similar fashion to iMeem or the subscription service Rhapsody. You can create multiple playlists, add songs to your profile, etc.
In addition to listening to the free streaming tracks, you can also purchase the tracks for .$99 via the Amazon mp3 store (this is the “iTunes killer” many have been chatting about since the service was first talked about).
A significant improvement over the MySpace of old, it’s great to know there’s another destination online for me to find free music. And it seems MySpace has done a good job of convincing the big boys that music can be monetized through advertising (which of course is all over the place) and through partnerships with Amazon, which has a very exhaustive mp3 download service that rivals iTunes.
I like the idea that this will open the possibilities of people discovering music online – those who are unfamiliar with sites like iMeem and Last.fm will be exposed to streaming music in quantities for the first time.
Unfortunately for those who ARE familiar with these services, MySpace misses the mark.
To start, and I’ve mentioned this before, is that the MySpace streaming player SUCKS.
The sound quality is horrible compared to the other networks, and I’ll gladly pay the $15 a month to Rhapsody to actually hear the goddamn music.
I would search for an artist, only to find the usual Google powered search results. It did not seem to be some huge catalog of music. Only after I found a specific kind of search box did I find the U2 music I was looking for.
And it was randomly organized, and did not include every track. I tried to find maybe an artist page that listed all the music, but was instead taken to the U2 MySpace page which only features the songs they already had on it’s profile.
What’s the point of having this huge catalog of music if no one can find it?
A few other things bugged me, like all the steps it takes to add songs to your playlist, but those things should get ironed out after some usability testing is done. Hopefully they improve on the search capabilities and make it a little more obvious to the newcomers that a huge catalog of music is available for them to listen to.
Lastly, the service seems to have blown off the indy artists of the world. I’m not talking about the Indy labels, like those affiliated with The Orchard, but those who run their own show. Shouldn’t they have some kind of ad-revenue sharing interface where an artists can upload it’s entire catalog and get a small % of ad revenue? All in do time I suppose.
What are your thoughts on this new and improved MySpace Music? Do you think it had the potential to level the playing field and take some of the dominance that iTunes holds, or is it a half-assed attempt to duplicate some of the better services on the web?
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