The word is out that the companies who control MySpace Music are looking at changing the site into a paid subscription model. Is this really any surprise, considering the fact it’s operated by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in conjunction with the four major record labels? Murdoch’s been an avid proponent of making users pay for online media content for sometime, and we all know how reticent the big labels have been to embrace anything that doesn’t involve monetization when it comes to the distribution of music files.
While MySpace itself has been struggling to retain its relevance in the social network milieu, losing the battle big time to sites like Facebook and Twitter for the hearts and minds of the critical teen to 30-something demographic, its MySpace Music offspring has never lived up to its promise of becoming an entertainment hub.
Morphing itself into some kind of Facebook wannabe and losing heaps of money in the process obviously wasn’t the answer for MySpace. To add injury to insult, because they’ve lost ground with Web users to other sites their ad revenue from Google Ads is likely to go way down once their current deal with that Internet behemoth runs out later this summer. And the ad-supported online music service option they might have considered, in which users are forced to endure advertisements before being able to stream or download “free” song files, is probably a non-starter given that virtually every site that’s tried such a model has failed and disappeared.
So, now they figure they’ve got a better chance to gain traction by replacing MySpace Music with a subscription service? Well, good luck to them (not really).
While I don’t give them much chance of success whatever route they take, the good news for all music loving plebes, both in and outside the industry, is that MySpace Music is a non-essential piece of the digital music landscape. And if, as is promised, they keep the social networking aspect of Mother MySpace intact and continue to give artists the ability to stream file samples and video clips to users for free, then all will be right with at least one corner of the digital world.