Amazon Courts Deal With MySpace

MySpace may have the reputation of being a puerile playground for preteen IM junkies, but its music profiles have become a virtual staple for artists from label-less singer/songwriters with a handful of friends to market-dominating megastars

MySpace may have the reputation of being a puerile playground for preteen IM junkies, but its music profiles have become a virtual staple for artists from label-less singer/songwriters with a handful of friends to market-dominating megastars. Conversely, Amazon may be an easy pick when it comes to digital retailers, but if you’re looking at music downloads, iTunes wears a far friendlier face and is just a click away.

According to Fortune magazine, though, a potential deal is in the works between the two online giants that may play off their respective strengths. Following Amazon’s recent trendsetting move to remove the pesky DRM software from their music downloads and besting iTunes asking price by a dime per song—as well as album specials on older classics that put their Apple counterparts to shame—Amazon is said to have been courting MySpace to be their partner in digital music sales pending the networking site’s anticipated venture with big wig labels Universal, Warner Music and Sony/BMG (soon to be just Sony) next month. MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe said the new service will also include free streaming music, ringtones, artist t-shirts and concert tickets – in other words, enormous exposure for Amazon and a vastly expanded clientèle of some 120 million users.

While Amazon lags way behind Apple in sales at a distant second—with the latter accounting for about two-thirds of the industry’s market—this deal might work to considerably tighten that gap, says market research firm NPD. Amazon execs say that whether or not they can surpass iTunes isn’t the game so much as luring their customers to take part in their other sales services—computers, toys, shoes, books, etc.—while they’re browsing their mp3 catalog.

Both Rhapsody and iTunes have put their name in the hat for the job as well. No final decision has been made yet and both sites are keeping their lips sealed at the moment. However it plays out, it’s certain that MySpace and some lucky suitor will be pack leaders in trailblazing an evolving market.


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