Industry Assesses MySpace Selling Power, Early Data Trickles In

Music remains an important part of the MySpace experience, and millions of bands have pages on the destination.

For artists, that means greater connectivity with fans, an inexpensive mechanism for promotion, and a better feedback loop on creative projects.  But is MySpace a place to sell music effectively?  The question is now more than academic, thanks to  number of aggressive initiatives.  The first comes from Snocap, which is now ramping its embedded, MyStores music ecommerce program, one that allows artists to sell MP3s directly from their profiles.  The concept opens an entirely new sales channel for artists, though early-stage numbers appear low.  One case study comes from up-and-coming teenage diva Chantelle Paige, an early adopter of the Snocap program.  In a discussion with Digital Music News on Friday, Chantelle manager Gabi Kochlani of GK Entertainment noted that sales were “very low” on Snocap, despite a front door feature on MySpace.

Instead, the traffic shifted towards the iTunes Store, a more well-worn avenue for downloading music.  “iTunes is part of pop culture these days,” Kochlani said.  “People already have their credit card on iTunes, it’s just a matter of convenience,” said Kochlani, who also pointed to a consumer “comfort zone” on iTunes.  Whisper numbers on other artists also suggest modest uptake, though data could not be confirmed with Snocap, which declined to offer sales information.  “I just don’t think people are going to MySpace to buy stuff,” one industry insider opined to Digital Music News last week.  “People don’t go to MySpace to buy,” another close to the platform flatly stated.

But even directing MySpace crowds towards iTunes remains an uncertain model.  One example comes from Tila Tequila, a MySpace celebrity who experienced somewhat lukewarm iTunes sales despite a heavy promotional effort.  The artist, who boasts 1.7 million friends, crossed 20,000 iTunes downloads during her first two weeks, according to figures supplied by Robb McDaniels of INgrooves, part of the Tequila digital team.  That could be an imperfect test, especially given the difficulty that many celebrities experience crossing over into music.  And from a larger vantage point, larger conclusions are foolish this early in the game, though continued experimentation will help to build a stronger data set over the coming months.