MySpace Music Readies for Liftoff as Music Industry Holds Breath

September 17, 2008 2:48 PM ET

The next great hope for the music business is about to come out of the gate. Though they still don't have a firm release date, the MySpace store has moved forward with their first big promotional push, debuting massive billboards in New York's Time Square that feature the Jonas Brothers and Lil Wayne and play up the service's myriad options.

The store will allow fans to stream millions of songs for free in an ad-supported framework, and sell digital downloads with help from the Amazon MP3 store. "The idea behind it was to sort of create the ultimate music experience," says Chris DeWolfe, the site's co-founder. "You'll be able to see the top songs your friends are listening to. Eventually you'll be able to buy tickets and merchandise and ringtones."

The new service is a partnership between top labels Universal, Sony BMG and Warner, and the smallest major label, EMI, is reportedly in discussions to join soon. But MySpace officials have yet to hire a chief executive officer for the service and won't give specifics about prices, what the website will look like or even when it will launch. Some in the music business wonder if a music store based on free, ad-supported streaming can make money to justify the partnership. "Kids are so used to getting music for free on MySpace because of streaming," says veteran major-label executive Robin Bechtel. "If someone is so used to streaming music, why is someone going to buy it?"

MySpace founders DeWolfe and Tom Anderson argue the service will succeed simply because it's the first to seamlessly combine social networking with a range of music sales. "When you look at things like iLike and Facebook, they don't have the full songs, in most cases, and they don't have official artist pages," Anderson says. "People aren't interested in music on Facebook in the way they are on MySpace, That's one of the big keys here."

Related Stories:
Long Awaited MySpace Music Store Launching Soon
Ben Folds Five Reunite For MySpace Show
Otep Win MySpace Voter Registration Contest

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »