A few months ago News Corporation announced that it was taking on Apple in the music downloads marketplace. Chris DeWolfe, the CEO of MySpace, said it would be starting up a one-stop music shop by spinning out the existing MySpace Music service to become an independent joint venture. The interesting thing about this, at the time, was that the joint venture would be with Universal Music, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group. All of whom would be minority shareholders and major content providers, with their entire back catalogs online.
Combining free streaming music that is sponsored by advertising, allowing shared playlists with others, and throwing in downloadable tracks as well it all sounds good. Adding subscription-based music for a monthly fee to release unlimited downloads makes it sound even better. It starts to sound really exciting when you realise that MySpace is talking about all this in a DRM free format as well.
Of course, then you sit back and reflect upon the market it is breaking into, a market totally dominated by iTunes.
The difference, of course, is the MySpace effect. By bringing community into the music downloads equation, and more to the point a proven and active community such as MySpace Music, a new dimension is added to the whole music shopping thing. All of a sudden there is that Web 2.0 polish to add a shine to what can be an otherwise fairly flat experience.
Also in favour of MyTunes is the unspoken fact that the music industry itself is pretty fed up with iTunes, or more to the point fed up with the power that Apple has to determine pricing and distribution when it comes to digital music sales. And lets face it, the music industry is all about digital music sales these days.
MyTunes, as I will continue to call it, is due to launch later this week. Which is probably why news has now broken that MySpace has got the backing of some big-name advertising players. A vital component if MyTunes is to succeed. Reports suggest that McDonald's and Toyota have both agreed to advertise, with other expected to be officially announced during the course of the day.
Can MyTunes take on iTunes at its own game, of course it can.
Can MyTunes take on iTunes at its own game and win? Now that's a different kettle of fish. However, with a ready-made userbase of some 120 million people spread across the planet it sure has a great shot at putting a big dent in the Apple share of this particular market. Not forgetting that some 5 million music acts are said to promote themselves using MySpace.
Now that must have Apple worried, for once...