MySpace Music UK set for 2009 launch despite setbacks

MySpace Music, the social network’s ad-funded music service, claims it’s still on target to launch a UK site this year despite a false start.

The social network first started approaching ad agencies late last year with a view to signing up top brands to support a launch scheduled for the first quarter this year (nma 11 December 2008).

MySpace Music’s UK service has been unable to meet its initial targets for launch, with the rollout, most recently slated for the first half of the year, now pushed back again. The launch is now likely to happen towards the end of the summer.

Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music, distanced himself from steps which had been taken before his arrival in January but admitted the social network may have jumped the gun and approached partners too early.

“I’m working on trying to make sense of a business that existed as a bunch of features,” he said. “So we went silent while we brought in the right people. Perhaps we launched the business before we had the key stakeholders in place internally.”

Holt added that MySpace Music, which offers members access to the entire back catalogues of the major record labels, will launch in “key international markets” in months. It went live in the US in September.

“Most of the steps on the label side have been dealt with,” he said. “We’ve taken active steps for international expansion. The product side is global so we’ve done the work for the core offering wherever we go.”

MySpace Music will aim to rival a growing list of ad-funded music services, such as Spotify, and We7, which this week announced the launch of a premium service.

It also comes as the online music sector hots up with the arrival of services from Yahoo Music, MTV and Universal Music Group.

The latter this week confirmed plans to partner with YouTube to launch a joint-venture music video service, Vevo ( 14 April).

Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group, said Vevo would be well placed to service advertisers, artists and fans. “We believe that at launch it will have more traffic than any other music video site,” he added.

It follows moves by MTV to roll out its MTV Music service internationally, with a UK launch expected in the third quarter of this year.

Last week new media age revealed Yahoo’s plans to launch European versions of its new Artist Pages service, enabling users to customise pages with content from YouTube, Flickr, iTunes and (nma 9 April).

The service aims to expand to enable users, musicians, artists and record labels to publish their own Artist Pages, in a move that would put Yahoo in direct competition with MySpace Music. While Yahoo declined to comment on launch dates for the service in the UK, a speedy rollout could see it go head to head with MySpace and MTV Music in a battle for online music fans.

According to MySpace, its music service in the US currently averages 5.3bn minutes spent listening per month, with 100m playlists created since launch.

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