Thursday, September 7, 2006

The goliath of social networking services, MySpace, is trying to take on the goliath of legal online music download stores, iTunes. Bands will be able to sell MP3 tracks through their MySpace profiles.

Most MySpace pages for musicians currently feature streaming audio, which allows web users to listen to a small selection of up to four songs while online. The new feature, currently in development, will allow instant pay-per-downloading of the songs. The downloading has been tested on a few bands' MySpace profiles, over the last few weeks. It is expected that the service will be available to visitors in the United States by year's end.

Bands will be able to set whatever price they wish, as opposed to the flat rates of services like iTunes; an undisclosed percentage will go to MySpace/Snocap. Snocap claims they are attempting to keep costs as low as possible. Fans of the bands, called "Friends" on MySpace, will be able to add the "storefront" to their own profiles.

MySpace claims to have three million music performers registered on its site. Many of these bands are unsigned or independent, and thus don't currently sell their tracks elsewhere.

Downloaded MP3 files will be copy-protection free, which means users can keep copies on as many playing devices as they wish, unlike on most legal song download sites.

The feature will be powered by a company called Snocap. The corporation processes the songs to make sure users don't attempt to sell tracks they don't own the rights to.