Justin Timberlake’s all-new MySpace just launched last week. The site is, by far, the most innovative social site I’ve seen in the past few years. Instead of focusing on advertising and useless friend updates, MySpace focuses mostly on music. This makes sense given the fact that Timberlake is at the helm. Prior to launching the site, Timberlake secured licensing deals for more than 50 million tracks. That’s why you can listen to a number of tunes on MySpace for free right now.
The problem is that Timberlake worked with major record labels to gain licensing rights, but the star did not take into account smaller labels. Now, labels that represent smaller artists are crying foul. But, Timberlake recently stated, fans have uploaded all of those smaller tracks, not site administrators. What’s a newly launched site to do in the face of public controversy? Why, take those reputed tracks down from the site, of course. One can’t help but wonder, though, if those smaller artists weren’t enjoying a bit of extra exposure from the site and from fans.
Labels Want Money. Artists Want Exposure.
Record labels are always looking for a way to make consumers pay. Granted, sometimes this course of action is merited. But, what happens when a site like MySpace launches, thousands of fans upload small indie tracks, and labels crack the “you have to pay!” whip? Well, those indie bands that were gaining exposure will gain no more. Timberlake has asked fans to remove tracks that weren’t covered in the site’s original agreement. Not only does this pose a problem for those smaller artists that were finally being discovered by new MySpace users, but it may also pose a problem for the site.
If MySpace fans can’t freely upload any kind of track to the site, is there a point to using the site all that much? Other than listening to major tracks released by major labels for free, fans of smaller bands may not see the use in using MySpace to spread the word about music. On the flip side, if MySpace is paying major labels for the use of certain tracks, why not pay the smaller labels too? Timberlake, and crew, have to draw the line somewhere. Unfortunately, the whole concept behind the new MySpace is to help people discover new music. If the site is filled with the same old music that’s played on every major radio station, the point of the site is rather nullified.
Still Plenty of Tracks
Thankfully, Timberlake hasn’t gone completely mainstream with his choice of MySpace tracks. There are lots of great new bands to discover that have contracts with MySpace. Presumably, Timberlake will work on additional tracks and contracts too. While MySpace didn’t gain a ton of attention out of the gate, I’m betting that this site will be one of the most popular social networks (if you can really call it that) out there simply because Timberlake created something that is actually unique (Google, take note).
If you haven’t checked out the new MySpace yet, make sure to do so. It takes just a few moments to sign up for a MySpace account, but the site is really worth your time – especially if you are into discovering new music.