Monday, 4 September 2006

MySpace minus FairPlay

In the wake of Google's strategic partnership with MySpace, and the appointment of Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to Apple Computer's board, comes the (not unexpected) announcement that MySpace is to compete directly with the all-conquering iTunes by offering artist downloads in MP3 format. This is without the aid of Digital Rights Management* (DRM).

MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told my former employer Reuters: “Everyone we’ve spoken to definitely wants an alternative to iTunes and the iPod. MySpace could be that alternative.”

I'm more than delighted to see a strong competitor for iTunes as this will only serve to improve Apple's offering further; especially in view of the alleged forthcoming iPod/iTunes updates. Yes, critics continue to besmear the vertical integration (hardware/software) between iPod + iTunes, but it's a near-perfect paradigm irrespective of FairPlay*.

Whilst the onus appears to be on MySpace vs iTunes. What impact (if any) will this have on beleaguered record labels? I will monitor this development with great interest.