Welcome back: a very happy new year to one and all!
In this second extract from the MIDEM Preview magazine, MySpace COO Amit Kapur talks to Julian Newby about the social network’s promising new venture, MySpace Music. Courtney Holt, the service’s new president (recruited further to this interview) will keynote MidemNet 2009.
Launched in the US in September last year, MySpace Music is a joint venture with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the four biggest record companies — Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, EMI Music and Warner Music Group. The site promises everything from downloads to ringtones to concert tickets.
What is MySpace Music’s offer to music fans?
The goal of MySpace Music is to provide its users with the largest and most comprehensive music catalogue available online around the world by providing the only 360-degree music experience. That includes full ad-supported streaming, as well as the opportunity to buy music and ringtones and, eventually, artist merchandise and concert tickets — all without ever leaving MySpace.
Has the world come to accept the digital marketplace for music?
In the last few years, there has been a major shift in perception when it comes to online music. Until recently, no one really understood the benefits and the opportunities that digital music creates — and labels, in particular, feared giving up control and losing the ability to monetise. There were no stable business models in place.
The joint venture offered our label partners the opportunity to actually work hand in hand with us to find a music solution that would benefit everyone: labels, artists and consumers. Together, we are changing the face of the music industry and making piracy and illegal activity completely unnecessary.
What strategies does MySpace have in place for the fight against piracy?
Fans don’t want to steal from their favourite artists. They want something non-restrictive, easy and fun that allows them to connect with their favourite artists and discover new music. Our goal is to continue to make the MySpace Music user experience seamless and positive, so people don’t feel the need to go to those sites that promote piracy.
Will brands eventually fund all consumer access to music?
The ad-supported model will be a major component of the business model going forward, but we believe that the industry will be supported by a 360-degree suite of services: ad-supported music, digital distribution, events, merchandising, ticketing… We believe the music business model needs to be built around the way people experience music, not just around consumption.
Did you anticipate MySpace’s role in the business of A&R from the outset?
MySpace has always been, and will always be, a community first and a music site second. When we first started back in 2004, we knew that our music offering would be popular. But we never anticipated that it would grow to become a household name in the music industry, with more than five million artist profiles and a community of over 35 million active users. MySpace provides artists with an innovative toolset that allows them to connect with fans in a real way — which is why MySpace has served as the launchpad for so many successful artists.
This and much more besides in the MIDEM Preview magazine, out now for all attendees and available in full online; soon!