MySpace Music Gets Ready For A Big Amazon Affiliate Check

noah | September 25, 2008 9:30 am

A week and change after schedule, the much-ballyhooed MySpace Music–in which the fading social-networking service and the major labels come together in hopes of making at least some money off their technology–has launched. Some clicking around reveals that it’s not really that much of a great leap forward as far as the consumer experience goes; the number of streamable songs from artists on participating labels (Universal, Sony, and Warner; EMI has signed on, too) is way up in some cases, thanks to the new site’s desire to be the biggest Amazon affiliate ever. But the big innovation–aside from an upgraded music player that also has links to Amazon’s MP3 store embedded within–being the ability to create playlists from songs that are streaming on the service. Streaming playlists with Amazon affiliate links attached? It’s like 2005 all over again!

Independent labels are still absent from the “streaming for dollars” portion of the service, as is the catalog of EMI. (Update: EMI’s catalog will apparently trickle in soon.) This results in a few browsing hiccups; when you visit Coldplay’s profile, for example, and select Parachutes from the pull-down menu, you are greeted with one streamable song: “Trouble,” which was uploaded to the band’s page long enough ago for it to have received some 3.8 million plays. The same hiccupy browsing goes for indie bands like Ponytail. Why the discography feature was turned on for artists whose labels aren’t participating in the revenue-sharing program is beyond me; it creates something of a dead-end for users, who can browse the songs the bands have uploaded by album, which is semi-pointless and usually results in users heading back to the “Featured Playlist” (which is code for “songs that were streaming from the site before today’s changeover”).

There are a few other quirks. Some new releases, which one would think would be high-priority for a venture that’s expressly designed for making bank, are missing: Fall Out Boy’s new single is streamable, but not available for purchase, and I couldn’t find Ne-Yo’s Year Of The Gentleman for streaming or purchasing, despite him being the No. 10 major-label artist on the site. The merging of Amazon’s data with the streaming player also results in a few glitches in the discographies, although I suppose merge failures like that are to be expected with large-scale launches such as this. (And I seriously doubt anyone is looking at MySpace Music as a possible All Music Guide alternative.)

It’s details and flaws like these that make the MySpace Music that launched today look like a rushed, desperate attempt to just get something to market, despite the amount of energy and press-gladhanding that was poured into it in the run-up to its launch. Will it result in a slight uptick for Amazon MP3’s music revenues in the short term? Perhaps. But I suspect that a year or so from now, we’ll be looking back on today much as we did on the day that Snocap first introduced its “buy this MP3” widgetry to the site–as a bump in the road, but nothing all that special in the long run.

MySpace Music [MySpace]