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MySpace is slowly trying its hand at letting its users access free ad-supported music via Textango, a mobile billing and online music delivery service, Adweek reports. At this point, MySpace’s experiment is very limited – it involves only one band so far, the alternative group Pennywise – and won’t get started until March. Sales of the Pennywise’s eight previous albums have ranged from 60,000 to 100,000. MySpace expects most of those buyers to sign up for the free downloads.
MySpace’s plan is very different from the ad-supported proposition offered by blog/music store Rrcd Lbl, which launched last week, the troubled SprialFrog, or others, such as Imeem and Qtrax. Instead of agreeing to watch an ad in order to get the free music, users only have to add Textango as a “MySpace friend.” At the moment, Textango has about 30 friends on MySpace. It sees the promotion with MySpace as a way to draw other music listeners to its online music store. Ordinarily, to buy one of the 600 albums on Textango, listeners send text message containing an artists’ code on their cell phone. The purchase is billed to their cell phone bill and the music is downloaded off of the Textango website. For MySpace’s part, this is a first test of whether an-supported model would be a viable method of leveraging the numerous artist relationships it has sought to build over the last few years.