BEIJING, Sept. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- MySpace.com
will make availabe free millions of songs to its visitors starting
from Thursday, including those that make up the catalogs of the four largest
record labels in the world, according to media reports.
The free-song project -- MySpace Music -- is a result
of the embattled music industry looking for ad-supported streams of revenue
to offset the declining sales of CDs and albums.
Steve Pearman, senior vice president of MySpace,
said the project was not a "cure-all" for the music industry's woes,
but it constituted a platform to experiment with new revenue models.
Visitors of MySpace can search for a song by
title, artist or album, select a track to add it to a playlist, and listen to it
using an online music player.
Ads appear on the player, and tracks on the playlist
link to Amazon.com's music store, where users can purchase them for download.
MySpace revealed the plan for the project in
April and said it would be a joint venture between the social networking
site and three major labels: Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music.
It now also has signed a fourth label, EMI, an
independent music distributor The Orchard and Sony ATV, which owns the rights to
the Beatles songs.
"If you want to listen to tracks, you should be able
to listen to tracks," Steve Pearman said at MySpace's San Francisco
offices, the place where much of the development work was completed.
"Let's give users what they want. You can build a
real business by setting music free," he said, suggesting that the
service would compete well with illegal peer-to-peer sites.
Several major advertisers -- including McDonald's,
Sony Pictures, State Farm and Toyota -- already have signed on, media reports
Russ Crupnick, an analyst at the NPD Group,
said "it's a bigger win for MySpace," meaning boosts in traffic and ad
revenue. But he added, "it's a win for the labels, too."
In April, Facebook surpassed MySpace as the most
popular social networking site worldwide, according to comScore. (agencies)