With music licensing partner Snocap on its deathbed, MySpace is wasting no time lining up new music partners. Today, the social network announced they’d signed a significant licensing agreement with Big 4 music label Sony BMG.
Under the terms of the deal, which was likely in the works for some time, Sony will use the MySpace site and platform to promote its artists with individual artist pages. They will also license a selection of music, music videos and other content for distribution around the MySpace site. MySpace, in turn, will share revenue from advertising and sponsorships.
In many ways the deal is merely formalization of a relationship that’s already been in place. MySpace and MySpace Music routinely feature new albums and promotions. The site was, in fact, built originally to bring bands and fans together. Likewise, Sony has already used the site to host secret webcasts for bands like Good Charlotte and Franz Ferdinand along with promoting other events. Formalizing the relationship adds revenue sharing (advertising and promotional), minimizes copyright infringement liabilities and tightens the bond. What this deal doesn’t’ do is create another music store.
The deal comes at a time when the music the industry is struggling. Big bands from Alt-Rockers like Radiohead to pop artists like Madonna are eschewing old label relationships in search for independence and new retail approaches. The labels, in turn, are struggling with the transition to digital and degradation in the value of their marketing and promotional services. with artists fleeing and revenue pinched, they are looking for new revenue models and need to redefine themselves. This promotional partnership with MySpace will create a sandbox for further exploration. I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, or even remotely close to it. On the surface its not much more than a marketing deal but it’s a step toward changes.