MySpace launches music service

MySpace has unveiled its new online music service that allows US members to listen for free but pay for downloads.

The service is advertising funded and allows members to build playlists on their computers, but to be playable on, or transferable to, any other apparatus will mean downloading it and paying for it. The music store is run by its partner, Amazon.

The new service has the backing of the big four music labels, Sony BMG, Universal, Warner and EMI, plus independent music group The Orchard.

MySpace Music currently only has a few thousand tracks available but this is expected to grow to many millions as the partner labels open up their archives. All the tracks sold will be free of copyright protection mechanisms, the Digital Rights Management software.

It is thought that up to five million bands and artists have a profile page on MySpace and the site has helped launch the career of many up and coming musicians as well as helping them to stay in touch with their fans.

Myspace also hope to generate revenue from ringtones, concert tickets and merchandise.