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Music’s space race

MySpace plans to up video component to aid filmmakers

Showbiz is turning MySpace into My Promotional Space.

Now that musicians and the major labels have turned the social networking Web site into a marketing tool, the site is exploring an array of new endeavors.

Since its January 2004 debut, the News Corp.-owned MySpace has grown to include 50 million members, with about 600,000 performers and musicians in the mix.

“What’s valuable about MySpace,” says Courtney Holt, Interscope Records’ head of new media & strategic marketing, “is that its members spend more time on the site than with most other media because it offers them so many things to do — blogging, posting messages to their friends, listening to music, watching videos — and they can interact with each other based on their musical identities.”

Many labels have used MySpace as a platform to stream entire albums by major artists in advance of their release date.

“Last year we did that with Beck, Audioslave, Nine Inch Nails and Black Eyed Peas,” says Holt, “and each act subsequently had the highest-debuting album of their careers.”

Adam Merrin, vocalist-pianist for indie rockers the 88, recalls doing a private show for Billboard at L.A.’s Knitting Factory: “The night before, I sent out a message on MySpace saying we’d put the first 10 people who responded on our guest list. Within 10 minutes I got 50 responses.”

Next up for MySpace: expansion.

The site plans to increase its video component to provide independent filmmakers with the same networking community it does for musicians, says Jamie Kantrowitz, senior VP of global marketing.

“We’re also looking into a satellite radio channel, an e-commerce component and enabling members to wirelessly connect with their MySpace page via their cell phones.”

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