- What - MySpace Music - social networking site
- When - Founded 1999
- Cost - Free
MySpace versus MySpace Music:
MySpace started out as a social networking site - and for the most part, that is what it remains. It didn't take long, however, for bands and labels to figure out that this site was a free network through which they could chat directly with their fans. Fans, for their part, loved the chance to have some one on one with their favorite artists. From there, a star was born, and MySpace gained traction as a go-to source for music lovers as well as for people on the business side of things to market their music. Hence, we have MySpace Music, a designated area of planet MySpace expressly for music based MySpace pages.
How MySpace Music Works:
A MySpace page (aka profile) is essentially a mini website hosted on the MySpace network that users can design in any way they see fit. Music can be uploaded to the site for streaming or for purchase, and photos, videos, blogs and other personal info can be added as well. The central feature of MySpace pages, however, are the "friends." Friends are fellow MySpace users who exchange links with you - a small logo for your site will appear on the "friends" list of their site and their logo will appear on your list. Friends may have access to "members only" type features of your page, or they simply be link swappers.
MySpace Music Major Label Streaming:
As of September 2008, MySpace Music relaunched in partnership with the four major labels to offer free streaming of the catalogues of those labels on demand. Users can generate unlimited playlists from these catalogues of up to 100 songs each, and a partnership with [http://www.amazon.com]Amazon allows users to purchase downloads of the streamed songs. The format is being test in the US with plans to roll it out in the rest of world later. Some indie labels have reportedly signed up to include their catalogues on the site in the future.
The free streaming is ad supported thanks to corporate sponsors such as McDonald's and State Farm.
MySpace Music Pros:
MySpace has its charms for people with music industry aspirations:
- It is one of the easiest ways for bands and labels to communicate with their fans, and it makes the fans feel included.
- For bands without distribution, it is a free and easy way to make your music available.
- MySpace Music is also a free and easy promotional tool and can be used to promote new releases, tours and videos.
- You can reach a global audience
- MySpace mania is self perpetuating - everyone thinks everyone else is on MySpace, so as more people embrace it, the opportunities increase
- You can see how many people are listening to your music.
MySpace Music Cons:
There are some drawbacks to consider:
- Racking up friends can give a skewed impression of the interest in your music. So many people on MySpace are looking for sheer quantity when it comes to friends and many of those "friends" probably don't come to your site at all, except when they have something to promote.
- There is no quality control. Because anyone can have a MySpace page, it is LOADED with really bad music. As the pool gets bigger, the fish get smaller, and even if you have the best music on the site, people will have to be extremely lucky to find you.
- You become ripe for a rip-off.
To capitalize on the success of MySpace Music, the creators of the site started a record label in 2005. Called MySpace Records, the label signs bands based on the popularity of their MySpace site.
Set Up Your MySpace Page:
If you want to give MySpace Music a go, setting up a page couldn't be easier. Simply visit MySpace Music and follow the prompts. Make sure you specifically choose a music page over a personal one. You'll be allowed to add up to four MP3s to your site. You will be walked through the process of personalizing your site, adding photos, changing the background, starting a blog, and so on.
Learn More About MySpace:
Check out these articles for more information about MySpace and online music promotion opportunities:
To MySpace or Not To MySpace?:
Not to MySpace might be a little strong. After all, you never know what is going to be that one thing that does the trick for you, and that one thing HAS been MySpace for bands in the past. Anything that brings music closer to fans is a great thing for music, period, and MySpace has certainly done that. Also great are things that allow musicians who are big on talent, small on budget to get a shot. In theory, things like MySpace level the proverbial playing field between indie labels and major labels and provide an avenue for music to stand on its merit, not the deep pockets of the label behind it.
I said "in theory" for a reason however - I don't think MySpace is the resource it is cracked up to be - at least not any more. There are a few reasons for my decidedly unfashionable opinion:
- the major labels are "on to it." They know music fans are on MySpace. The majors are now all over the site. They promote their bands there. They give previews of new releases there. More to the point, they promote their MySpace pages at any given turn. In fact, they spend more money promoting their MySpace pages than many indie labels or bands spend promoting five releases. Out come the wallets and out goes the level playing field. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because some major label artist has accepted your friend request that you are going to score with cross hits from their site. Someone in a little office at the label spends all day accepting those requests. You're a needle in a haystack.
- The correlation between "friends" and "fans" is iffy at best. Friends come in a few forms. Some are purely looking for promotion (that girl with the half naked picture who sent you 50 messages in a row telling you how much she loves your band? She's looking for clicks, not your music). Band friends can come in this form as well. Band friends can also come in the form of people who get a little buzz from making pseudo friends with other bands. Well, fair enough, friends are good, but don't confuse a little self esteem boost with accomplishing something for your band.
- The hunt for friends, the checking for new friend requests, the logging on to see comments - it can be addictive and can distract you from the job at hand. Stop playing on MySpace and start playing some music.
Bottom line - MySpace can be a great thing for music, and for indie music in particular. But, the chance of getting discovered via MySpace is small. Make sure it's not the only thing you have going.