MySpace is expected to start selling music downloads before the end of the year, according to media reports.
Rather than compete with Apple's iTunes, which has 80 per cent of the digital music download market, the social networking site will concentrate on selling music from amateurs and unsigned artists, according to the Financial Times.
With many aspiring bands uploading their music to MySpace, providing a facility for them to easily sell their work was the next logical step, co-founder Chris DeWolfe told the paper.
Bands will be able to set their own prices for tracks, and any profits will be split between MySpace and the artist.
To enable consumers to freely upload tracks to their iPods, the music will not be protected by digital rights management, since Apple refuses to license its FairPlay restriction system to third parties.
The lack of DRM protection could be off-putting to established artists and labels.
DeWolfe hopes to turn the site into a major player in the online music business. "Eventually, we should catch more than just the 'long tail' [of smaller artists]," he told the FT. "This is not just a niche business. "
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