Are indie bands going to get screwed by MySpace Music, the social-networking site’s joint venture with Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group? If by “screwed” you mean “not getting as much of a share of the ad revenues as the big boys, if they get any at all,” then the answer is “of course.” Listening Post had a little chat with MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe on the topic of spreading MySpace Music’s wealth, and he said that there were just too many bands out there to give a share of ad revenue to every single group of guitar-toting bros with a page on his site. And if they don’t like it, they should remember how they should be happy that their bands got access to the “free platform” that MySpace has to offer, what with its unparalleled ability to connect bands with fans from all over the world… and then make those fans think that they’re spammers after their accounts get phished.
Wired: Is MySpace Music open to giving equity deals to digital distributors such as The Orchard or Ioda?
DeWolfe: We’re open to extending our equity deals to the right partners, but at a certain point, you can’t extend equity to everyone. What we originally set out to do was create a platform where every artist in the world would not only have a free promotional platform like they do right now — we’re providing a free service — but also to create additional revenue streams for them.
A nice non-answer there, right? But it gets better!
Wired: Will unsigned bands on MySpace Music have a way to participate in the ad revenue?
DeWolfe: We don’t really have the mechanism right now to develop an affiliate program or a payout structure for millions and millions of bands…. We started with the major music companies, and we’re talking to the consortiums because the indie bands are really the heart of MySpace — it’s how MySpace Music started. We value their contribution, and one of our initial missions was to help artists that didn’t get signed by major labels to create a living based on their art.
We first did that by creating this free platform where they could get fans from all over the world that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach; and provide a platform for those fans to become friends with those independent artists. And when those independent artists go on the road, they can sell out their shows and make money through touring and merchandise and tickets and all of that. We’re trying to extend those revenue streams to the independent artists. This is all meant to be a very, very positive movement for them.
So maybe bands who are affiliated with the Orchard and IODA will see some money… someday. But I’d file that last claim under “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
MySpace Music Won’t Give Equity to Indie Bands [Listening Post]