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Indies hit out at all new MySpace

By | Published on Tuesday 29 January 2013


Having been left out of the party in the early days of digital by the likes of Apple, YouTube and MySpace, the indie labels have experience in dealing with tech types who preach independent spirit while concurrently screwing the musical independents, but since the bigger indies launched digital rights agency Merlin such cold treatment from digital start-ups has become much rarer.

But then MySpace got bought by some advertising guys, who are relying on Justin Timberlake for music business insights, and the all new music-at-its-heart version of the former social network launched earlier this month without Merlin on board. And then MySpace management told the Merlin labels who discovered their content was still on the relaunched site, despite the lack of a licence, to submit their takedown notices for each rogue track they find.

Which is why the new look MySpace – keen to re-establish itself as a platform for new artists looking to engage fans – was very much enemy number one at a meeting of indie labels at MIDEM in Cannes yesterday. In fact, it felt like 2003 all over again, with Alison Wenham of the Association Of Independent Music and World Independent Network on top form.

According to MusicAlly, the AIM chief said of the new MySpace: “There is an impression, a complacence, and I would suggest an arrogance which is offensive, that you do deals with the majors, and the independent sector should be somehow grateful for the promotional value that these services will apparently bring to your artists and to you. If you follow that to its logical conclusion, all your activities would be promotional benefit”.

On MySpace’s seeming nonchalance towards its non-deal with Merlin, and the continued presence of Merlin label content on its platform, while also noting that’s its not entirely clear what happened to the majors’ equity stakes in the old MySpace Music subsidiary when News Corp sold the digital firm to Specific Media (ie are Sony, Universal and Warner shareholders in the new MySpace?), Wenham continued: “It’s absolutely repugnant to the spirit of cooperation and the balancing of interests commercially that this should have been MySpace’s response”.

So, take that Timberlake, and get your digital house in order before you try to reclaim your seat on planet pop. Read more about the indie labels’ MySpace wrath in MusicAlly’s full report from MIDEM here.