MySpace is opening shop as an indie record store — make that 3 million indie record stores. Using Snocap’s backend, MySpace plans to give all the musical artists on its site the option to set up online storefronts on their profile pages and their fans’ profile pages by the end of the year. Apparently NewsCorp might take a minority position in Snocap (something it recently did with Simply Hired) as part of the deal, according to the WSJ.
This isn’t a challenger to iTunes because the songs will be unrestricted MP3s, therefore leaving out the DRM-obsessed major labels. But it’s a great way to play into the allure of being part of the cool crowd — one of MySpace’s greatest strengths. Bands will be able to set their prices, with MySpace and Snocap each getting a cut. Fans can syndicate the stores on their MySpace pages, but it’s not clear if they will be able to take a share of the revenue as well.
Snocap, Napster creator Sean Fanning’s company, had previously emphasized its tool for identifying content on peer-to-peer networks, but that hasn’t gone anywhere. The company seems to have switched its strategy to selling these distribution tools to indie artists. Other startups in the space include Navio, Musicane, and BurnLounge.