MySpace today announced the launch of "MySpace Transmissions", described as "a music program that empowers top recording artists with a new platform to create and distribute exclusive video content available for viral distribution and audio tracks available for purchase in the U.S."
The basic idea is that major label artists, the first of which is James Blunt, get to record versions of a bunch of tracks exclusive to MySpace. The recordings themselves will then go on sale through MySpace Music, and behind the scenes video footage will also be made available, presumably for sharing, across the social networking site. Despite the hyperbole littered across the official press release, the "platform" is nothing new, and nor is the concept. My initial reaction was to think MTV Unplugged, although as Allen Stern points out over at CenterNetworks, a more accurate comparison is AOL Sessions: "basically they bring in the artist, shoot some videos, some outtakes, etc. and publish them on a dedicated channel on MySpace", writes Stern.
The "Transmissions" MySpace page is lacking to say the least, and despite guinea pig Blunt's assertion that the program provides him with a "great opportunity to connect directly with my fans", interactivity is almost non-existent, aside from a very 1.0 looking forum which was empty at the time of publication.
On the plus side, the tracks sold through "Transmission" are DRM-free MP3s, which are simply described as iPod-ready.
Overall, "Transmission" is another example of MySpace's focus on being a platform where professionally-produced and big brand content can be marketed to a captive and receptive audience, as it is a place to publish and share bottom-up or User-Generated Content.