Blog Post

@ MidemNet: Merlin To Sell Music Via MySpace; Unprotected MP3s; NMPA Talks Royalties

[By Robert Andrews] The new “fifth major” record label unveiled here at Cannes yesterday has announced its first partnership – a deal with Shawn Fanning’s SNOCAP that will let independent artists sell their music through websites including MySpace. The indies joined forces for the non-profit Merlin to present a united front when negotiating rights and rates deals with download services and others. The SNOCAP deal, announced this morning, will allow artists from member labels to create retail front-ends using SNOCAP’s MyStore widget. Integration of the widget with MySpace was announced back in December, allowing users to purchase tracks directly from band profiles. Now independent artists en masse will be tantalized by the prospect of turning their profile audience into direct sales. Merlin’s spokesman said: “The downloads will be sold as unprotected MP3 files, enabling them to be played on all digital music players including Apple’s iPod.”
MySpace-NMPA: Meanwhile, The body which represents over 800 US music publishers could soon look at obtaining royalties from MySpace for the songs embedded on millions of its pages. Asked her views on the social networking behemoth’s use of tunes, National Music Publishers’ Association SVP Jacqueline Charlesworth said: “I think that’s something we will be looking at in the next couple of years. I know that labels have looked at technology to track sound recordings. We don’t have a rate yet, though, on streaming so there’s no rate
that applies yet. But I think that’s something we’ll be looking at in the very near future.”
Many of MySpace’s over 100 million users effectively republish commercially available songs. The current statutory royalties rate on CD singles and track downloads is currently 9.1 cents but copyright royalties judges are due to announce new rates to come into effect in 2008.