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MySpace Music Debuts To Rival iTunes

Subscribers can stream music free or buy songs at MySpace Music through a partnership with Amazon.
MySpace has launched a new digital music service that allows users to listen for free while they browse.

The social networking site launched the ad-supported music service Thursday. MySpace users can stream music free or buy songs at MySpace Music through a partnership with Amazon.

Since Amazon sells MP3s without digital rights management, users can play the songs on most devices, create their own playlists with up to 100 songs, and share their playlists with people who visit their profile pages. MySpace Music also offers ringtones via Jamster.

The social networking site's music service launches with hundreds of thousands of songs. It's expected to expand as MySpace attempts to catch up to Apple's iTunes, which offers 8.5 million songs. iTunes dominates music sales. With 120 million users and some history of helping independent artists gain widespread popularity, MySpace seems in as best a position as any company to take on the most popular music store run by Apple. iTunes has sold more than 5 billion songs.

With the free streaming, MySpace members will be able to listen to an unlimited number of songs and albums. Major advertisers, including McDonald's, Sony Pictures, State Farm, and Toyota, will support the free service.

Just before the announcement, MySpace reached an agreement with EMI, which allows the social networking site to feature that major label's songs. MySpace announced agreements with Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group in February. Now, all four major labels hold equity stake in MySpace Music. Still, it is unclear what percentage each will earn from ad revenues from streaming music.

MySpace Music has also obtained licenses to feature music from the indie liable, The Orchard, as well as Sony/ATV.