paidContent has learned that News Corp (NYSE: NWS). is pursuing a music joint venture for MySpace — similar to Hulu, its video joint venture with NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), but with variations on the theme. The constant in both instances is content for equity. Under this scheme, MySpace would be the operator with the major music labels — Universal Music Group, *Sony* BMG, Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG), EMI — as content providers and equity partners. MySpace would be a distributer but, like Hulu, the idea would be a mixed portal-distribution experience. Music would be DRM-free and ad supported. No label has signed yet but a source familiar with the situation said that could change in a matter of weeks. The theory is that once one signs on, the rest will follow. (EMI would seem a likely candidate but Sony (NYSE: SNE) BMG already has an interesting deal with MySpace.) That doesn’t always work but, as Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has shown, it can.
MySpace, which claims more than 7 million bands with on MySpace Music, has explored and experimented with numerous ways to capture the full value of music to the site, including a recent limited test of ad-supported music downloads. Music has been at the core since the beginning and remains a major driver. Last fall, MySpace and Sony BMG set up a revenue-sharing partnership for sponsorships and ads with the label’s artists