Will You Be Using Myspace Music?

No, you haven’t slipped through a wormhole and woken up in 2005: a new Myspace service, Myspace Music just launched in the UK.

The broadsheets are hyping it as a rival to Spotify, an exciting new player in the world of music streaming – which is news to those of us who have been using Myspace to stream music for the past five years.

But it makes sense, I guess, for Myspace to beef up their music offering, since that’s the chief reason most people still use the site.

We all know there’s nothing more depressing than logging on to your old Myspace account, only to find five hundred backed-up friend requests from 15-year-old Taking Back Sunday fans from Delaware.

But I bet you still use it to check out new bands.

So what’s Myspace Music’s USP? Essentially it’s (lazy comparison alert) like Spotify, only it’s free of ads, and there’s no paid-for upgrade option.

So, unlike Spotify, you could use it to play tunes at a house-party, without fear of having to lunge for the off button when an ad for the Tory party comes on in the middle of ‘It’s Blitz!’

Plus, there’s far more in the way of recommendation. At the time of launch, that’s mainly in the form of celebrity playlists – Florence’s is particularly good, featuring En Vogue and The Walkmen, and the Vatican’s list (yes, really) is entertaining, if only for the mental image of Pope Benedict XVI “vibing” to Fleet Foxes and Tupac Shakur.

However, in time, as more and more users make playlists, there’ll no doubt be more of a social, Share My Playlist aspect.

And it’s all very slick. Once you get over the weird, time-warp sensation of actually using Myspace again – just looking at that typeface makes The Bravery’s ‘An Honest Mistake’ start playing in my head – it feels intuitive and buzzy to use.

Whether it can survive is another matter. How many ad-funded music sites can the internet support? There simply aren’t enough ads to go round.

Remember that each time you stream a song on Myspace, they have to pay a royalty to the label. According to Tech Crunch, those streaming costs currently add up to $10 million a month.

Is that sustainable? Just the other day, Rupert Murdoch – who owns Myspace – declared that the future of media is paid-for: “The business model that relies on advertising-only is dead.” Not in turmoil. Not on it’s way out. Dead.

So where does that leave Myspace? Ads alone cannot bankroll the music industry. The sooner we all realise that a paid-for subscription model is the only answer, the better. But that’s a topic for a future blog.

In the meantime, what do you think of Myspace Music?