Free ad supported music is on the way

By February 20, 2008 March 10th, 2008 18 Comments

Reported in the FT this morning:

MySpace, the world’s largest social networking site, is gearing up to partner with the major record companies to create an advertising supported service that would allow consumers to listen to music for free on their computers.

The service would apparently be streaming, but maybe with downloads as well, and is dependent on turning discussions with record labels into deals.

Myspace are not the first movers in this space though. Not by a long shot.

Imeem looks like the runaway leader at the moment. They have been going since 2004 with a service that is now very popular. Their alexa ranking is 149, and according to Crunchbase they had 18m uniques in November last year. Interestingly Myspace blocked Imeem in February last year.

Other competitors include we7 and LastFM here in the UK, and a bunch of others in the US, not least Pandora.

This is a busy market, because it is huge. People love to listen to music and I believe that the millions which currently do so illegally will happily revert to a legal service once they find one that is cheap and convenient enough. As I’ve said before I think the winning model will be ad supported streaming, with the ads in the stream.

It is deals with the labels that have been holding a lot of these services back and will be the key for Myspace. Imeem has it’s lead at least in part because it has these already.