FaceBook & MySpace Planning iTunes Assault

So says the FT...

If the Financial Times has its facts right social networking could be set for its next evolutionary step…

The unashamedly pink paper claims both FaceBook and MySpace are currently in separate discussions with the ‘Big Four’ music labels – Sony BMG, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music – about starting their own online music stores.

While all involved parties are currently refusing to comment (and interesting sign in itself), the FT says the duo are looking at a free streaming ad-supported service along with subscription based deals ”and” a download-to-own option. Free streaming is said to be the favoured method of the two sites and while this model has yet to prove successful elsewhere, none have boasted the 110m user-base of MySpace or 66m user-base of Facebook.

Interestingly, MySpace has long been best positioned to go down this road with its site associated with musicians since the beginning, while FaceBook was far slower to embrace the idea only opening its Music On Facebook section last week. Is this another case of MySpace being slow to manoeuvre and FaceBook aiming to capitalise?

Either way, download stores for both sites seems logical (regardless of the potential conflicts and cross-overs with existing artists/plug-ins, etc), but the big question is whether even their muscle can cause iTunes even the lightest of sleepless nights. With Amazon MP3 going global this year and 7digital tying up DRM-free deals left, right and centre as well, the social networking twosome are certainly going to be involved in one heck of a fight…

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