MySpace Music, the long-awaited music venture from the social-networking site, went live yesterday.

Initially available only in the US, the service is a joint venture between MySpace and EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group and will allow users to stream music from the record labels for free as well download songs without digital rights management (DRM) protections from Amazon MP3.

Other major players involved in the service include Sony ATV/Music Publishing and independent music distributor Alternative Distribution Alliance.

The service also allows MySpace members to share music, purchase merchandise and event tickets, stream and buy songs, manage their digital music collections and compile playlists.

"Music has been a big part of MySpace since the beginning, and especially in the early days it was the heart and soul of what we were about. Since then, we've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what else can be done in music and where can we go from here," said Steve Pearman, senior vice president of product strategy for MySpace.

MySpace believes its new service will take online music to another level by giving people more flexibility and freedom to share with friends and load songs onto different devices.

"We believe you can move the music monetisation model away from a system based on scarcity and barriers and build as strong, if not a stronger business, by setting the content free," Pearman said.

That approach is consistent with the principles that govern the MySpace user experience, like social discoveries and sharing and consuming content, he said.

At the same time, MySpace Music seeks to simplify the pairing of brand marketers with artists for advertising purposes, while giving music labels and artists viable, alternative revenue streams, he said.

MySpace subscribers will be able to access the service via a new page in their profiles called ‘My Music' where they will be able to create playlists. My Music will contain a default initial playlist called ‘My Profile Song History' that contains all the songs subscribers have added to their profiles until now.

Users will be able to add a playlist of their 10 favorite songs to their profile home page. Beyond this, they'll be able to create as many other playlists as they wish, and each one can contain up to 100 songs. Playlists can be public or private.

NEXT PAGE: Improved music search option

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