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MySpace Music (www.myspace.com/music) won’t be live for a few hours yet, but I just got off the phone with Steve Pearman, SVP-Product Strategy, who took me through a WebEx demo of the site. Of course, I’m aware that these demos are only of limited value, and don’t hit on the pain points, but here are some initial thoughts:
— The integration with Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) MP3 looks very slick. If you already have an Amazon account, you don’t need to be logged into MySpace Music at all to start buying tracks. And if you already use Amazon MP3 and have the downloader app (which will slide a song over to iTunes once you’ve bought it) then it’s even easier. I’ve stated before that Amazon did a good job at making online music buying fairly painless, so it’s a smart move on MySpace’s part to lean on them for handling this part. More after the jump.
— Now bear in mind, I’ve only seen the prepared demo, but after watching this, it made me wonder what the value proposition is of the web-only subscription services from Napster (NSDQ: NAPS) and Rhapsody. Now sure, it’s one thing if you take your sub to a compatible mobile device, but if you’re just looking to stream tracks online in an unlimited fashion, it appears that MySpace Music will let you do it for free, with no major limitations. Users are allowed to create an unlimited number of playlists, each consisting of up to 100 songs (they say that’s a usability thing). Creating the playlist looked easy, and advertising didn’t look like it would be intrusive.
— Pearman said social discovery was at the core of the service, though it’s not clear how sophisticated it is just yet. Yes, you can look at your friends’ playlists, but can’t tell whether it will have the advanced recommendation engines like you might find on a Last.FM or similar service that takes into account the habits of you and your friends. This can always be built out later.
— If you hate the way MySpace looks, then you’ll probably hate the way MySpace Music looks. Yes, it’s a different design, but it’s still got that busy, glitzy feel that characterizes the site itself.
Bottom line: Can’t wait to try it. Actually, I kept thinking: This could be cool, but does it mean I have to go back to using MySpace again?