Blog Post

MySpace: No Plans To Charge For Music Streams, Mobile Is Audience Driver

After some good-natured tangling with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the site’s founder Michael Arrington laid into MySpace (NYSE: NWS) co-presidents Jason Hirschorn and Mike Jones. After (pretending?) to check a call on his cell phone, Arrington began his inquiry by asking pointedly, “So how come you’ve lost 25 million users since you started your reign?”

The co-presidents dodged that one fairly well. Mike Jones explained that one-third of the News Corp. social net’s users come from mobile, which doesn’t show up in the comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) numbers.

Arrington then dug the knife in a bit deeper: “Your music business is losing $10 million per month — is that working for you?” Again, Hirschorn and Jones continued amiably, explaining that they’re driving revenues and music sales from their free streaming. Asked if how long they can keep that service running without charging users, Jones said that the company has no plans to slap a subscription fee on music listening across MySpace. But ultimately, that depends on the labels. “We’re constantly talking to the record labels,” Jones said. “And so that could change. Right now, we’re a valuable music discovery service for them.”

The MySpace duo was also took the opportunity to take aim some rumors surrounding the unit’s plans. Hirschorn told Arrington that “We didn’t hire [Quincy Smith’s] Code Advisors,” adding that they only have informal discussions on what MySpace should look at in terms of acquisition targets.

In the end, Arrington admitted that he was a little tough on Hirschorn and Jones, offering a group hug — but only off-stage.