Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet to MySpace Music by launching a dedicated music service all of its own.

Facebook Music enables bands and musicians to promote themselves through the social networking site by creating a dedicated artist homepage that can be populated with full-length music tracks and videos.

Artists who decide to take advantage of the free service can employ a host of Facebook and third-party applications on their profile to carry out all sorts of promotional tasks, from sending out news updates to selling tickets and merchandise.

Thanks to a deal with Apple there’s also the option to include a direct link on the page that will enable users to buy songs featured on the Facebook page from the iTunes music store.

Trouble at MySpace?

Should MySpace be worried? Has Facebook just stolen its last redeeming feature? No one can say with any great certainty, just yet. What we do know, however, is that MySpace is talking to the major labels about setting up a free music service of its own.

Could it be, even, that MySpace Music is a deliberate ploy aimed at parrying Facebook’s jab before returning with a giant haymaker KO of its own? TechRadar has contacted MySpace to ask them just this – we’ll let you know what they say when they reply.  

In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see how many spoof and impostor band profiles spring up on Facebook Music.