Thursday, April 3, 2008

MySpace music is no iTunes killer

Apple is now (semi-officially) the America’s largest music retailer, a position that many other entertainment, e-commerce, IT and other companies covet.

One of them might succeed in displacing Apple. Dell knocked off Compaq, and the Japanese have helped Detroit in its CFIT. But generally I’m skeptical of the wannabes, since nearly all (or maybe all) will fail: a late “me too” strategy is a guarantee of that.

That’s why I took notice of today’s MySpace deal to distribute songs (and other products) for three of the big four labels. It is not “the latest iTunes killer,” because it’s something more: similar functionality but delivered in a significantly different way. And building on a website that’s already the top social networking site in the US, which has some opportunities to deliver value in a way that the iTunes Store does not.

The one problem I see is that because the site (unlike Amazon’s) is continuing to push DRM-infested tracks long after consumers and industry have spoken, that implies that a) the record labels are calling the shots and b) they still are in denial.

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