Our co-editor Erick Schonfeld had the chance yesterday to discuss the significance of MySpace Music and free, ad-supported music in general on WYNC’s Soundcheck, a program produced daily by New York Public Radio.
He was joined by Farhad Manjoo, a columnist for Slate, who took issue in particular with MySpace Music’s user interface. Erick argued that, regardless of its execution, the service represents a step in the right direction and marks an important shift toward ad-supported streaming. The music industries are watching this experiment, and if it turns out well, they will likely extend the free streaming model to other services.
Erick elaborates on how music is information and, as such, wants to be free. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other ways to make money on it. The music streams may turn into marketing for digital downloads and higher-margin goods such as ringtones, concert tickets, T-shirts, and more. In the end, Manjoo pretty much agreed with Erick’s sentiments.