Now there are four: EMI joins MySpace Music on eve of its launch*
On the eve of the launch of its new music site, MySpace said today that EMI Group, which counts the British band Coldplay (pictured above) among its jewels, is now part of the joint venture that already includes the other three top recording companies.
EMI was the missing link for the venture, which came out of a negotiation between MySpace and the recording industry over copyright infringement on the News Corp. social network. The music service, which will be available tonight at www.myspace.com/music, will include full songs streamed for free and personalized music management services. Through the service, which is powered by Amazon.com, MySpace users will be able to buy music downloads and ringtones as well.
As we noted last week, the service plays a crucial role in MySpace's future.
EMI confirmed that it reached an agreement for its music to join MySpace Music, although it will probably take a while to appear.
Another crucial piece added at the last minute: Sony ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between Sony Corp. and Michael Jackson that oversees the copyrights on 600,000 songs.
I spoke to Martin Bandier, Sony ATV's chief executive, who said his company had to decide whether to join the venture or seek legal action against MySpace and News Corp. over alleged past copyright infringement on the site.
"This is about the future and not about the past," he said. "We didn’t want to get caught up in the technicalities of the past.... We didn’t want to be the stick in the mud stopping a social network from launching or moving."
-- Michelle Quinn
Photo: Coldplay in Austria this month. Credit: Barbara Gindl / EPA
* A previous version of this post said MySpace Music was launching Thursday. The company had planned to announce the service Thursday, but it goes live at 9 p.m. PDT.