The long-anticipated MySpace Music launched last night, and impressions appear mostly positive. Users can stream music for free in an ad-supported feature or buy tracks through Amazon's MP3 store that come without copy protection.
The new features represent a true step forward for the social networking site, says Bruce Houghton at the Hypebot blog. But he notes that a scramble to get the service up and running has left it with an incomplete catalog that might frustrate users. Also:
A quick tour of the site showed that one of MySpace's strengths—custom designed pages -- continues to be a MySpace Music weakness. Many pages present unique challenges when trying to find how to purchase, for example.
Still, in getting launched, the service has done "something incredible," says Michael Arrington at TechCrunch:
They've created both a compelling music experience for users as well as a realistic, long term business model for labels and artists in a world where recorded music moves towards free.
The big labels own 40 percent of MySpace music and get a cut of the ads sold for the streaming service, he explains.
It's likely to become the center of the revenue ecosystem for artists, particularly unsigned artists starting to make a name for themselves.