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Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 12:46 UK
Indie labels slam MySpace Music

by Jim Reed
Newsbeat technology reporter

MySpace Music screengrab
Snoop Dogg and The Strokes won't feature on the new music store

MySpace's new music store has launched in America without big name British artists like the Artic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, after the site failed to reach a deal with some of the largest independent record labels.

The organisation which represents the indie sector, Merlin, said it could not agree a way of sharing out money from advertising sales from the site.

It accused MySpace of treating its members as "second class citizens" and called the launch "unhealthy and dangerous".

Money row

MySpace's new ad-funded music site lets American users listen to millions of full-length songs for free while they are online and then pay to download files to a portable player.

A UK version is expected to go live in early 2009.

The service is a joint venture between MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and the four major record labels, Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner and EMI.
Artists off MySpace Music
Franz Ferdinand
Tom Waits
Artic Monkeys
Bjork
British Sea Power
Arcade Fire
The Strokes
Jarvis
Queen Latifah
De La Soul
Snoop Dogg
2Pac

Each has a stake in the business, equal to its share of the American music market, with sales from adverts on the site split between labels and artists.

But a group of independent record labels including Koch, Beggars Group, Tommy Boy and Domino say they have been shut out of the process.

'Disappointing'

They want a stake in the business equal to their 9% share of the US market.

Merlin's boss Charles Caldas called the decision to launch without an agreement "incredibly disappointing".

He said: "We remain extremely concerned that major record labels are acting not only as competitors but, through their stakes, as the end user as well.

"Without an equitable participation by independents, it creates a situation that is both unhealthy and dangerous."

In a statement, MySpace said: "We have offered Merlin a relationship that provides the same opportunities to Merlin's labels and artists that we have provided to all labels and artists."

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