Indie labels blast 'Orwellian' MySpace

MySpace not offering independent labels a satisfactory deal in MySpace Music
MySpace not offering independent labels a satisfactory deal in MySpace Music

Following this week's launch of MySpace Music in the US, MySpace UK informs TechRadar today that the service should be launching in the UK within the next two months.

Of course, a UK MySpace Music launch depends on the launch of Amazon's DRM-free MP3 store in the UK. TechRadar has contacted Amazon for confirmation on launch date and we expect to hear back shortly.

Meanwhile, the divide between the UK's independent music labels, as represented by the Merlin Network, and News Corp's MySpace widens today.

MySpace responds

A MySpace rep informed us that it has "offered a relationship with Merlin that provides equal opportunities to Merlin's Labels and Merlin's Artists that we have provided to ALL labels and artists whether they are indie artists, major artists or unsigned artists.

"We hope that the entire music community including the labels and all artists will take advantage of the unique relationship that MySpace has built between artists and fans."

Simon Wheeler, digital content director for the Beggars Group responded with slight concern to MySpace's above statement, telling TechRadar:

"We find the MySpace statement misleading at best, whatever MySpace has offered Merlin, and I am not party to those negotiations, it was not an equal opportunity to that which has been offered to the major labels, specifically on the point of equity in MySpace Music.

No offers to unsigned artists

"MySpace has not made any offer to unsigned artists either as far as I am aware," Wheeler added.

"If the opportunity that they refer to is to make your music available to stream for free, then that offer is open to anyone, if it is to include getting compensation for streaming of your music, then that is not open to anyone except the major label partners, their distributed labels and a token indie [The Orchard] at this point in time."

Wheeler describes MySpace's statement as little more than a "PR 'buffer' which is attempting to deflect the fully justified criticism that MySpace has been receiving from the independent community which has been instrumental in populating MySpace's music services since inception."

MySpace's Orwellian approach

"This is simply false," says Bob Frank, President of KOCH Records. "KOCH Records, the number 1 Independent in the US for seven years running, has not been offered anything."

"MySpace has done a horrible job analysing the independent landscape. They can continue with their 'Orwellian' approach to their statements and press releases but that does not change the fact that they have given equity to the majors whilst treating the Independents as second class citizens in a seriously anti-competitive and arrogant manner."

Adam Hartley