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“We have 70 people totally dedicated to working on MySpace Music right now. We will have a CEO in the near future."
——Chris DeWolfe to Digital Music News
WE HAVE LIFTOFF: MYSPACE MUSIC GOES LIVE
Initial Impressions: A Cool Concept and a Spiffy Look, but Much Work Remains to Be Done
MySpace Music launched early this morning, and it looks pretty spiffy compared to the old MySpace.

EMI is on board, as are the Orchard, ADA, Red, Fontana and Caroline, although music from these companies has yet to be added. Unlike the Big Four, the indies probably won’t be offered equity in the joint venture, which has been a sore point in negotiations. All content providers will derive revenue from advertising.

"We are actively working with the indies," MySpace SVP of Product Strategy Steve Pearman told Digital Music News before the launch. "From a systems perspective, an artist is an artist is an artist."

Said  American Association of Independent Music President Rich Bengloff: "A2IM is disappointed that MySpace Music, previously a champion of independent music, has not included independent music labels as equity participants as they have done with the major labels, thus not giving independently owned music labels parity. We are also disappointed that the launch of the venture included only a portion of the independent distributors and aggregators leaving out a large number of independent artists and labels from the launch."

Charles Caldas, CEO of indie music licensing group Merlin, argued the arrangement allows major labels to profit from the use of indie music without giving indies the ability to profit from the venture as equity partners.

"Without an equitable participation by independents, that creates a situation that is both unhealthy and dangerous," Caldas says, though adding that Merlin is in licensing talks with MySpace Music.

On the publishing side, MySpace has locked in a number of biggies, including Warner/Chappell, Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing Group and EMI Music Publishing.

The "buy" function is being fulfilled by unprotected MP3s from Amazon.com that are, of course, playable on your iPod.

Also still to be added are the merch and ticketing elements, as well as—you guessed it—a CEO. But MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe told DMN, "We have several candidates that we like, but we're in no hurry… There is too much attention placed on [the CEO search] right now. We have 70 people totally dedicated to working on MySpace Music right now. We will have a CEO in the near future." 

We haven’t had time to play with the various functions, including the much-ballyhooed on-demand access to songs, but we found the playlist function, which is a very cool idea and one of MM’s key features, to be disappointing from a visual standpoint. Unlike iTunes iMix user playlists, which can be seen in full, only three songs on MySpace Music playlists are visible at a time; you have to scroll to see more. This seems odd in that users can add as many as 100 tracks. Initial featured playlists are up from Lil Wayne, Sean Kingston, the Jonas Brothers, Fall Out Boy and, of course, Tom.

The main info page for the new site is http://www.myspace.com/aplaceformusic.

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