Independent Record Labels Sign MySpace Deal

Merlin has struck a deal with digital music company Snocap. What does that mean for the consumer? Thousands of independent labels across the world will be able to sell digital downloads of their music from Web sites such as MySpace. Merlin was launched Saturday as a new agency representing the world's independent music sector and secures licensing deals with emerging media. Snocap, founded by Napster creator Sean Fanning, will use its retail initiative called Mystore to make music downloadable from Web sites. The Mystore and MySpace tag team is expected to launch in the "near future".

The music downloads will be sold in MP3 format; they will be compatible with any portable music player on the market. The independent record label sector makes up for 30% of the music sold worldwide (the rest is from Vivendi's Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group and Warner Music Group). MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told Reuters last year that the group hoped to be one of the biggest digital music stores available. "This immediately opens up what is currently the most popular Web site in the world to the independent labels," Merlin Chief Executive Charles Caldas told Reuters.

News source: InformationWeek

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The RIAA has no control over Independent Labels. Period. Therefore, if an independent label chooses to have no DRM it's up to them. However, if a member of RIAA allows their bands to use the service, they'll wan to setup DRM. Our label, NextGen Records has looked into Snocap, but we've decided to stay away from it for the time being as it's not a good fit for us at this time. .45 for 1 download is very steep vs. .11 iTunes takes off the top of a download. Also, it takes up to 45 days for Snocap to cut a check and that's only if you reach the $20 mark. The idea is great, but cost wise, it might need some work.

I doubt it. They'll probably come up with some RIAA-friendly way to sell kids music via MySpace.
Yes, I'd like to see DRM-free music from independent labels available on popular websites, but the RIAA currently has so much power that I don't expect that any of the record labels will defy them.