Social Media

Would You Pay For MySpace?

image from MySpace Music is “almost certainly” going to restrict free streaming and move to a paid model says TechCrunch citing multiple sources. “They are spending $20 million/month on streaming royalties, and that just isn’t sustainable,” said one source. Many believed that MySpace Music image from was immune in part because it is co-owned with the major label groups.

The company hasn't commented on this story, but the report is consistent with recent statements by MySpace parent NewsCorp Chairman Rupert Murdoch that a free web is unsustainable. MySpace is also feeling the pressure of falling visitor counts and the resulting drop in ad payments from Google that will fall signifigantly beginning in June of 2010.

Would you pay for MySpace?

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  1. Don’t you switch to pay model when user signups and traffic are going UP?
    This would be sad if it wasn’t so funny. Dubber’s recent “Quit Myspace Day” on MTT summed it up perfectly — they had to put in serious effort to fail.
    And, they sure did.

  2. I have to agree with Justin above. People are already fleeing from MySpace in record numbers. Charging for the service would probably put the nail in the coffin. Music is really why, I feel, most people still hang around MySpace at all. Taking that away and then asking money for it seems like a really stupid idea.

  3. Their previous main service, personal profiles, were soundly defeated by Facebook leaving their Music as the only reason why most people visit. Bands love it because it provides a free platform to promote their music, which Facebook has recently started doing very well. If MySpace charges, it will only accelerate the exodus towards Facebook’s direction not only of users, but their core of musicians and artists.

  4. “Free” won’t ever work for music streaming that requires royalty payments, because that music is not inherently free to begin with.
    Artists who treat their recorded works as an advertising tool rather than an income stream are poised to succeed in the new music marketplace. By allowing their songs to be streamed for free to fans and new listeners, they create connections with new fans who otherwise would not hear their music, and ultimately give those fans a reason to buy real goods like CDs, t-shirts, and concert tickets. Unrestricted streaming doesn’t have to involve giving the music away for free. For example, on, artists and bands can make their music available for streaming but not for free downloading. By using free streaming services like Uvumi, and offering CDs for sale at shows and by mail order, and by working with existing platforms like iTunes or Amazon, artists have a real business model that can generate real revenue in spite of old-school record labels and outdated royalty payment systems.
    The royalty model is dead, or at least rapidly dying, as is illustrated by MySpace’s rumored $20 million loss per month. Indeed, that model is just not sustainable, but, realistically, artists do not need to play the royalty game to make a living off their creative works anymore.

  5. Correction, artists can post their songs for streaming on, and they have the option to allow free downloading. This gives the artist control over their work and how it is distributed online, letting them choose to give it all away for free, or just to let people listen for free.

  6. What I don’t understand is why MySpace must pay royalties. If the artist is indeed putting up music for promotional use, rather than internet radio, shouldn’t that be reasonably exempt from royalty payments?
    Second, given the current state of things, should I register for ASCAP, and then pay my rent by listening to my music continuously all day?

  7. I agree with with Neil, we need to restructure Royalties when it comes to online streaming in order to create a more sustainable model. Indies wont really give a shit but the majors are gonna have an attack.
    @Marshall, I see what your saying but you know aswell as I do that if a fan or potential fan wants your song, they can just rip it off your stream or find it by some other means. Im guessing thats why Uvumi has the option for dl, so then you sanction and control it under your discretion in exchange for data…like bandcamp.
    Oh yeah, and myspace sucks balls. But I actaully think they could get a few thousand users to pay a premium…look at imeem. People are willing to pay for a feature rich media…who they are i have no idea lol.
    – Danny

  8. Come on people, radio stations make money and yet still pay royalties, why can’t MySpace? I’ll tell you why: because the Web site was built on sloppy code, which to this day drives up running costs, then bought by a holding company, which has done nothing (I would guess) but demand better margins even as it adds overhead through deeper management layers. The way to fix MySpace is to let the company declare bankruptcy and start over with clean code and stronger incentives for people to join and for advertisers to appear on pages. To simply say it’s those pesky artists demanding their royalties is truly lazy.
    Jeff Shattuck

  9. Good point, someone who really wants to get that music will make it happen one way or another. But that doesn’t mean that artists should try to keep those people from having copies of their songs. In fact, those people who “steal” songs are actually performing a very valuable advertising function in many cases, by sharing the music with their friends and playing it for other people, the artist has more opportunities to connect with new fans, some of whom may even pay for goods or concert tickets in the future.
    There’s an interesting article on this topic here:

  10. @Marshall thanks for the link…very good read.
    @Jeff, yes radio stations pay BMI/ASCAP fees but they have way lower overhead compared to those big ass bandwidth fees myspace is paying on a monthly basis.
    thats really whats killing them, they already tried to attack it by disabling the auto play functionality.
    And in corporate radio, you have anywhere from 90-110 commission based sales staff selling airtime/ad units. I’m not sure how big myspace’s sales dept. is but they have room to improve, I’m sure.
    They secured an ad deal with google a few years back so Im thinking they have a lazy sale staff.
    ok, Im done…gonna stop talking about that sucky site. lol

  11. No one’s paying me royalties… I think the ones to get screwed are always the independent artists. Luckily, there are a lot of other sites out there and I’m sure something will soon come along to replace Myspace.

  12. Question: Would you pay for MySpace?
    Answer: No. No way.
    It’s full of ads / nagware that is annoying. It’s like logging onto a spam show at those times when Tom has just posted his bulletins. It’s a bulky and clumsily programmed website today as they have added not just bits and pieces but large features to their original structure to compete / copy new ideas / features of competing online communities.
    A rumor like this one makes it seem like the end of “Web 2.0” were near, but there is no “Web 3.0” or even “Web 2.5” in sight yet. I wouldn’t mind scrapping the forums / message boards and going back to “talk” type of mailing lists of the “Web 1.0” days. Other people are touting that Facebook were becoming “the new email”. It seems like everybody that’s talking has their own agenda. Mine is “Keep it simple. And keep it free.”

  13. Well, if you’re getting plays on any internet radio, you should register for SoundExchange. Because it’s all digital, the stats are mainly based on actual song play counts rather than surveys…

  14. I don’t know if it’s bad management, or if advertising on myspace is simply not valuable enough, but it’s surprising that a site with so many ads has so much trouble with royalties. Are other internet music streamers (, pandora, etc) actually doing this more successfully, i.e. profitably? Or are they all still living off of venture capital?
    This also brings up the question of why MySpace partnered up with Google music — undoubtedly more streams, and revenue is presumably shared with Google, so it seems like basically they will sell more advertising at a loss…

  15. Look out people- Myspace might just reorganize and start over with new code, etc. Myspace as a brand is suffering but they might be waiting for a crucial time to distill and renew their position as dominant presence in the market.
    Myspace still has the social networking market cornered: ‘Myspace.’ ‘Do you have a Myspace (or Facebook?’
    Facebook is the second thing to enter our collective minds, while Myspace is syn with the social networking revolution. I’m sure the brand management team at Myspace is aware of this, though who can say what they will do about it.
    Many companies in a position to innovate don’t until the right time. An overhaul of Myspace right now would make them look even worse.
    I suspect that Myspace will continue to distill and rally behind their unique selling points, and perhaps roll out a new image at the proper juncture of resources and the competition’s value proposition.
    For instance, we all hate McDonalds… at least I did until Starbucks came along. Now I can go to a 24 hr McDonalds and drink a $1 cup of premium coffee and connect to the web for free.

  16. I agree with M , Myspace have the mindshare to allow them some room to maneuver.
    They seem to be on the right direction pointing towards music as their prime focus, but as many have mentioned above, bad programming may be their undoing anyway.
    No one in it´s right mind would pay a penny to Myspace in it´s current incarnation, but who knows what they may come up with?
    The only thing certain, in my view, is the urgency of a major re-vamp.

  17. Have you heard the expression – “throw the baby out with the bathwater”
    Royalties may look like dirty bathwater because they are low and many middlemen take a cut before the money gets to the artist and the writer.
    But the royalty system is nonetheless a revenue stream for artists and writers. For example, if MySpace is spending $20 Million/month, that’s $240 Million a year. If the royalty rate is the lowest on the internet or 5%, $240 Million is 5% of $4.8 Billion worth of listening demand. That’s the equivalent of 1/2 of the listening demand in 2008.
    Most of that listening demand is generated by a small proportion of the 8 Million MySpace musicians/bands. And they are probably very happy to receive a royalty check.
    They probably also have worked very hard to develop their sound and connect with fans and deserve it.
    So if you throw out the royalty system, you are throwing out a revenue stream for many musicians/bands who have worked hard to rise to the top.
    Wouldn’t it be better to learn how those bands made it and teach more musicians/bands to get there?
    The argument that all you have to do is offer the music for free and the fans will come is wishful thinking and lazy analysis, as evidenced by the disproportionate listening demand on MySpace. It may look like some musicians/bands have succeeded with free streaming to generate concert revenues and cd/downloads, but this is a joke. First of all the odds of this success is low – like 1 in a million. And even when the band succeeds, do you know how much the promoter, the venue, the concessionaire takes from that concert ticket and merchandise sales? Do you know that cd/downloads revenues are down by a third in the last 5 years?
    Ask the successful bands on MySpace if they’d like the royalty payments to go away. Ask what they did to succeed.

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