MySpace Records

MySpace Records has finally made it to the big time. The Rupert Murdoch/News Corp entity has done deals with the major labels to give them the kind of access to MySpace as the indie labels once had -- alone.

Well, not so fast.

Some indie labels including big ones like Koch Records are quoted as being livid that MySpace would treat their company differently than those of the majors.

Let's get this right.

MySpace has gone Hollywood -- given better deals to the majors while allegedly ignoring the very indies that helped MySpace Records get rolling.

Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin, an international licensing group representing over 12,000 indie labels has been quoted as saying that MySpace Records "just seems to be a massive disconnect within that organization between the reality of what they are building and what they think they have built."

I saw Caldas quoted on Perez Hilton using some very colorful language: "Koch Records isn't just going to drop our pants and sign here without being treated like everyone else. How do our four competitors in a practical sense control that service?" asked Caldas. "That is some pretty sticky ground, I would think."

So it seems the four majors are rewarded for not having the foresight to help News Corp launch MySpace Records so one could argue that MySpace used the indies to attract their attention.

They got it.

If it remains that the indies somehow get the worst end of this deal, they may not sign the new agreements now that MySpace has relaunched their music service.

This may not be fair but it is sure as hell predictable.

It's a "mine is bigger than yours" attitude on the part of the labels. That always amuses me since the record labels haven't come up very big in any area of music growth since 2000. It's just locker room braggadocio.

Here's another sobering thought.

This and the next two lame ideas big corporations come up with about the digital record label of the future will be just as unsuccessful as I predict MySpace Records will be.

As a portal for indie artists, MySpace is actually doing a service for its social networkers. They are getting something different than offering a home for the same old Coldplay's of the music world -- nothing against Coldplay, but you get what I mean.

Once you add the majors and their acts, it's big business as usual.

You often hear me talk about the importance of generational media at this point in time. Big business in a digital age won't cut it with Gen Y. It hasn't so far and is not likely to in the near term. In fact, young people know that MySpace is owned by a Fortune 500 company. Many have been aware of the move to commercialize MySpace since News Corp bought it.

I'm not blaming News Corp for wanting to get a return on investment. I'm simply questioning why major corporations continue to make bad decisions without any real understanding of the generation to which they are trying to appeal.

Radio does it.

TV is doing it more and more.

Newspapers lost it long before the Internet for this very reason.


Apple understands the next generation. While it carries the music of the major labels, it (Apple) dictates the price point that it thinks will sell. I don't see a way for there to be two iTunes or even two iPods for a good while now. Apple nailed it that solid.

iTunes is the legal portal of choice.

Limewire and bit torrent sites are the unofficial record label of the future. Fast, free -- and no one can stop it.

Know your target generation -- that's my message.

Personally, as I have told you previously, my eyes were opened in academia when I lived and worked with the next generation. From my perspective and keeping in mind that I make plenty of mistakes - I have seen few intelligent moves regarding Gen Y and new media.

MySpace Records -- who cares?

Record Labels -- you think Gen Y cares if they survive?

Gen Y can steal music without any pangs of conscience but they would never steal an iPod or a Mac from an Apple store.


Because the Internet makes it possible for the consumer to break down the retail walls that have prevented easy file sharing.

Not the Good Lord.

The Government.

Or even a higher power --say, the RIAA -- can stop this.

All music will be free.

I will repeat that.

All music will be free.

MySpace and the big four labels -- have fun -- it's the last fun you'll be having until you better understand the generation.

They are your potential consumers for something other than a CD or a 99 cent download.

Are you ready to reinvent the music business?

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