RealTime IT News

MySpace to Launch New Services

SAN FRANCISCO - MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe unveiled plans today for ambitious new services the social networking site will launch soon. He made the disclosures during an open interview with TechCrunch co-founder Michael Arrington at TechCrunch50.

Only five months after announcing MySpace Music, its long-awaited joint music venture with major record labels, MySpace will launch the site later this month. This will offer ad-supported streaming music and videos with no digital rights management (DRM) usage protections, as well as other contents and services.

MySpace will also take its collaboration with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Gears to the next level. Users will be able to catalog their profiles and save them on their hard drives "in a time capsule, if you will," and will be able to upload one of their old profiles and edit it if they want to, DeWolfe said.

MySpace announced at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco last May that MySpace had integrated Google Gears into its messaging system so users could back up all messages to their local machines for fast searching and sorting. That was the largest third-party implementation of Google Gears, and the first time a search and sort mail functionality was made available on MySpace.

MySpace Music will go head to head against Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes service, the the biggest U.S. music retailer as of June. It will also take on Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN) MP3 service, which went global recently.

DeWolfe is positioning MySpace as the music industry's savior. "The music industry is losing 10 to 20 percent a year in CD sales so, instead of fighting them, we've partnered with them, carved up MySpace Music, the largest music community in the world, taken the music companies' music catalog and built great features around it," he said.

Users will be able to download and stream music, get ring tones, and get "a lot" of original content, DeWolfe said. Like MTV did, MySpace plans to "bubble up pop culture to the top," he added.

Bands will videotape what's happening behind the scenes and these will be streamed live to MySpace. "We've always believed very strongly in integrated marketing," DeWolfe said.

He would not comment on the exact date the service would be launched, and would not say whether or not the service will be powered by Amazon's S2 cloud service when asked.

MySpace is rushing to roll out the service, even though it does not have a chief executive officer (CEO) for it yet. "We've got top people from every functional group in it, and Amit Kapur, who's our chief operating officer (COO), and I have been running it," DeWolfe said. Kapur was named COO in June.

"We've built the largest music community in the world without a CEO, and we're just looking for the right guy," DeWolfe said. He added that "We're launching no matter what," and that includes with or without a CEO.

There will be a second phase of the MySpace Music rollout, DeWolfe said. This will let users buy concert tickets and T-shirts online. However, DeWolfe would not say when Phase Two will be launched.

Meanwhile, the new Google Gears functionality will be rolled out "in the next few months," DeWolfe said. However, he would not elaborate.