MySpace has launched a music downloading site, giving Internet users a new, less expensive alternative to iTunes.

ySpace Music, which debuted last month, allows users to download songs to their computers or MP3 players through the music player or purchase them through Amazon.com. Some songs on Amazon are only 89 cents, a dime less than those bought on iTunes.

The site is for all musicians, from established bands to the latest up-and-comers, and features music videos, artist exclusives, tour updates and playlists. Users can place their downloaded tracks onto a playlist, posting it on their own MySpace page and sharing it with others.

ySpace will make most of its revenue through advertisements and has already lined up sponsors such as McDonald’s, Toyota, State Farm and Sony Pictures. These brands will provide customers with a variety of new music services such as “Toyota Tuesdays” sponsored by Toyota, which will offer free music downloads and have a strong presence on MySpace Music’s Personal Music Player every Tuesday for a year.

Julianne Lee (COL ’11) currently uses iTunes and was not aware of the new MySpace Music site.

“I don’t even use MySpace because of Facebook,” she said.

When asked if she would consider switching over to MySpace for her downloads, she replied, “I don’t see a point.” She said she enjoys the features of iTunes such as the downloadable album art that it provides.

While Amanda Summers-Plotno (COL ’11) uses MySpace Music for free streaming and its access to music from bands that aren’t well-known, she said she will “stick with iTunes” for her downloading.

With the fall of CD sales and increase of illegal downloading, the music industry is hurting and labels are looking for any way to boost revenue.

CD shipments in the U.S. were down 12 percent from 2005 to 2006 and down 17 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

usic companies hope that MySpace, with its more than 120 million members worldwide, can provide an innovative approach to music by combining social networking with the music downloading experience.

There are six billion songs played every month across MySpace and 65 percent of the global MySpace community streams music on their profiles, according to a company spokesperson.

“MySpace Music brings together the world’s largest recording and publishing companies and one of the most prominent independent digital music providers to create the most comprehensive music service for our users. The ultimate goal is to create a platform where users can truly experience music in a way that works for their lifestyle and a site where all artists are able to monetize their content and reach their fans across the world,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and chief executive officer of MySpace.

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