MySpace Music to Launch Thursday

MySpace began a digital music sales battle with iTunes Thursday when it launched MySpace Music — a “music service formed by the world’s second largest social network and all four of the largest recording companies”.

Although MySpace has yet to provide a stand-alone hardware music device to play the music it sells — such as Apple’s iPods and iPhones — the site will, on balance, be a formidable competitor to Apple‘s music retailing business which has, to date, maintained an unchallenged position of dominance.

Could this turn the music industry’s tides?

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will officially take on Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Thursday.

That’s when MySpace is expected to launch MySpace Music, the music service formed by the world’s second largest social network and all four of the largest recording companies, MySpace executives said Wednesday.

MySpace executives said the EMI Group, which took much longer to join the venture than its three competitors, will make its entire music library available to the venture.

The service represents the most significant challenge to Apple–at least in terms of firepower–in some time. This is the first time that the top labels have all joined in taking a stake in an iTunes competitor. 

ReadWriteWeb offered an early glance at the new service (see screenshots here) on Wednesday.

The long awaited MySpace Music service is launching tonight around 9pm PST. (It’s the old site at that link right now.) We just got off the phone with the company for a briefing and we liked what we saw. It’s going to be a very big deal.

Users will be able to assemble playlists from a huge catalog of songs from all four major labels and from independent distributor The Orchard, full length songs are all streamable for free, users will be able to purchase DRM-free MP3s through a close integration with the AmazonMP3 service and developers will have a gradually increasing amount of access to user activity data from the Music section.

RRW’s overall conclusion?

MySpace could be considered the world’s second largest provider of email service behind Hotmail.

Apparently the point is that MySpace is a huge full-service stop where people are already gathering. We buy that and we think MySpace Music will be a strong player.

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