Myspace Takes On Apple's iTunes With Free Online Music Service

Myspace is partnering with Amazon to offer millions of songs for free online supported by advertising as part of a complete relift of its music service.

US-based Users of the Social networking website will be able to stream free music from the big four labels - EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner - but not from indie labels.

They will also be able to download the tracks on their personal computers for 79p a pop, which is comparable to iTunes, but with the added advantage that the files comes without DRM, which means that they can be copied or transferred to virtually all devices that can play MP3 files.

Myspace users will also be encouraged to compile playlists of their favourite track and share those amongst their friends on the website;it is unknown whether this could potentially be extended to other Myspace partners, as part of the Google backed, Open Social scheme.

Myspace's forte has historically been its huge music fan user base which has helped it fend off competition from many newcomers and prevent Facebook from poaching its members.

The move is also seen as a way for Myspace to compete with iTunes and for the big music labels to subtly tell Apple that they are in charge as well as tackling the music piracy issue.

Around five million music groups and singers have their profiles on Myspace and the social networking entity has seen the emergence of great acts like the Arctic Monkeys or Lily Allen.

Amazon is set to launch its online music service in UK in the next few weeks while Myspace music's launch in the US should be followed by a UK one by Christmas.

It will be interesting to see whether Myspace can convert free streamed music into a regular revenue stream (pun intended) as researches have shown that people are not acquainted at using their computers to stream music.