Fans as music-sellers on MySpace

You’ve likely heard the news that MySpace is going to enable selling music. Particularly interesting is that they are letting the fans sell the bands’ tunes through their own profiles:

A handful of bands have been testing the MySpace online music feature for several weeks. One is The Format, an indie rock band from Phoenix, Ariz., that boasts more than 99,000 “friends” on their MySpace page.

Terry McBride, chief executive of Canadian label Nettwerk Records, which manages the band and handles their marketing and promotion, said having fans help sell the band’s music is the wave of the future.

We have a strong belief the next major retailer in music is the consumer themselves,” McBride said. “This is a step in the right direction.”

I guess it’s not that different from being an Amazon affiliate, except it looks to me like the fans aren’t getting any of the take for sales made through their profiles. Anyone know for sure?

I wondered before about where the line is between empowering and exploiting fans, also in the context of the Murdoch empire, and this is another example. Yeah, I would love to be personally responsible for selling records by my favorite artists (I confess that I’ve been known to count how many copies of records I know were bought because of my recommendations). On the other hand, if I had a thriving little media sales empire taking place through a web profile I expended considerable energy on maintaining and keeping filled with current and compelling content, I think I’d feel a wee bit resentful if I weren’t seeing any of that income. Of course, I’d want a cut of MySpace’s profit, not the band’s.

Comments (1) to “Fans as music-sellers on MySpace”

  1. I find this utterly despicable. The notion of turning a bunch of enthusiastic kids into little mini-marketeres, it’s just rotten. I do also love to try and get people into music that I like, but I do so because I want to them to experience the same enjoyment that I have had. Bringing money into things cheapens things…and yes, if the fans *aren’t* making a cut then it’s still bad as they’re lining Murdoch’s pockets. And they won’t mind that they’re not making money for flogging stuff…I suspect this will hinge on the idea that fans will want to be seen supporting the objects of their fandom, and MySpace lessens the gap between the two sides. In other words, I’m sure some fans will be thinking it’s a way of getting noticed by the musicians.

    A few months back, there was a thread on about Coldcut…they had a new record out, and were seeking to promote it. The thread has now been removed – I’ll see if I can find it on Google’s cache though – but it was an appeal to people to join a Coldcut “street team”. This would then involve them signing up for forums, and generally trying to generate positive word-of-mouth about the new record. In exchange, they would be given badges and other bits and pieces. This went horribly wrong, and the ninjatune forumers completely ripped the piss out of the idea, which is presumably why the thread was pulled.

    I had a look into this at the time, and found there were actually whole sites dedicated to this kind of nonsense…i-teams they were called on one place.

    Actually, here’s the post which started that Coldcut thread!

    Re: Coldcut Street Team

    Ninja [15.12.05, 13:48:37]

    To be envolved with the e-team you will be required to talk about Coldcut on forums, get friends to sign up to the mailing list, create a buzz on myspace and general web releated tasks.

    And a link to leave you with (can I use url here? Well, sorry if this stretches the page anyway):