The new Myspace, risen from the social media ashes like some kind of a semi-relevant phoenix from the '00s, has already hit its first snafu. It turns out that the site — totally centred around music — might not have secured the right rights. And there's a whole army of unimpressed small record labels.
The criticism comes from a global rights agency called Merlin, which represents several thousand smallish labels. Merlin and Myspace used to be pals, but the pair's most recent deal expired about a year ago. The problem is, songs from over 100 of Merlin's associated labels are still on the site, rights or no rights. Merlin's chief executive, Charles Caldas, put it this way:
"While it's nice that Mr. Timberlake is launching his service on this platform, and acting as an advocate for the platform, on the other hand his peers as artists are being exploited without permission and not getting remuneration for it."
According to Myspace, the tunes must have been uploaded by users, and it's offered to remove songs so long as Merlin points them out and asks nicely. A Myspace spokesperson has reached out to us, stating that: "[They] have millions of tracks from emerging artists who've yet to be signed to a label and come to Myspace in order to promote themselves and find an audience." A nice sentiment, but one that totally fails to address what Merlin's complaining about.
Myspace might not be the biggest fish in the streaming-music pond, but it's still got a bit of weight to throw around, so you can understand how rightsholders might be a little miffed. And hopefully this can all get sorted out before Myspace finds itself driven into the ground again, flashy new redesign or not. [New York Times]