Musicians are a very adaptable bunch, particularly independents. We’re the ones who turned the original MySpace into a powerhouse of music discovery; we’ve made Twitter an important platform for conversations about music; we continue to drive eyeballs to YouTube. Unfortunately musicians have also experienced the hassles of having a once-dependable platform disappear or transform into something that isn’t so useful, like when MySpace went Murdoch or the recent changes to Facebook.
Musicians’ needs in the digital realm might not be simple, per se, but they should be recognized. Although artists are generally enthusiastic about digital tools to reach fans, raise capital and sell stuff, we’re less thrilled when an online service goes away or is modified to the extent that its less useful. When news broke recently that streaming on-demand site Beats Music had acquired Topspin—a well-liked, direct-to-fan commerce solution for musicians—many wondered what this would mean for artists who had come to depend on its suite of services.
When MySpace Music launched in September 2008, early reviews were generally mixed, although most were optimistic for what the service could eventually become. MySpace’s revamped music component was long in development, so the fact that it was finally released was newsworthy in and of itself. A few weeks in and over a billion streams later, we can finally look a little deeper at the quality of the service and what it could mean for artists and fans.
Yesterday, Washington, D.C.’s Channel 9 talked to FMC Executive Director Ann Chaitovitz about the launch of MySpace Music — which lets users listen to pretty much the entire catalogs of the major labels, create playlists and share the tunes with their friends. Supported by advertising, the music is free to stream on-demand for anyone with a MySpace account. If you want to purchase any of the tracks to play outside of MySpace, you get rerouted to the Amazon MP3 store. read more
A new study (PDF) by NYU/Stern professor Vasant Dhar indicates that blog buzz has a strong correlation with album sales. The study looked at blog posts, changes in an artist’s number of MySpace friends, and online album reviews over an eight-week period — half before an album was released, half after.
The study found that increases in MySpace friends had a slight positive correlation to album sales. More significantly, artists who received ample attention from major blogs seemed to “move more units,” as they say in the biz. read more