MySpace's 'Socialization of Content' and New Music Tools

Wednesday welcomed a host of announcements about music. First news leaked out about Google's plans to unveil a music service next week. Facebook rolled out a new Facebook Gift Shop that includes music from Lala.

But perhaps the biggest news came Wednesday evening from MySpace, as recently-appointed CEO Owen Van Natta unveiled his content-focused strategy and new music initiatives.

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Van Natta laid out his much-anticipated plans for the company. While Facebook is all about people who know each other connecting online, he envisions MySpace being a place where people who don't necessarily know each other can socialize about content, calling it a next-generation content distribution platform. Instead of competing exactly with Facebook, the company is distinguishing itself and building on its area of strength: music.

Since MySpace Music launched in September of 2008, a joint venture with the major music labels, traffic has tripled, the site thriving as a destination for artists and music lovers. Now MySpace plans to roll out similar platforms for movies, online video, and video games. The idea is for MySpace to forge similar content distribution deals with TV and video game creators, distributing the clips, and sharing the revenue from ads, and becoming a destination for fans to discuss, generating the kind of buzz that creates viral hits.

Before rolling out these new platforms, Van Natta announced a couple of initiatives that really establish its commitment to the music space. A new "artist dashboard" will allow all musicians with pages on MySpace to track exactly how, where and when their music is listened to. They can even track their fans geographically, with a global heat map.

The company is also taking advantage of its relationships with all those music labels by launching a comprehensive music video library on its site, giving access to pretty much every video you could think of on an artist's webpage, free and ad-supported. And now MySpace will link up to Apple's iTunes . Previously artist pages on MySpace just directed users to buy songs on Amazon, but now it'll also hook up to the iTunes store.

Perhaps most surprising is how MySpace is using iLike, which it recently acquired to syndicate MySpace content across other social platforms. iLike is a music-recommending service that's particularly popular on Facebook and other social sites like Bebo and

Now, if social networking users access iLike through Facebook or one of the other sites, they will be able to see MySpace content — like those music videos — on the Facebook site, and even in their Facebook news feed. And artists will be able to access the iLike data, pulling in the data of who's listening to their song not just from iLike's application on MySpace, but also from iLike's application from Facebook and around the web.

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