The "new" MySpace unquestionably places a bigger emphasis on music than any previous iteration we've seen. Visit the freshly-revamped site and you'll find plenty of promotion surrounding investor Justin Timberlake's latest single, but MySpace more importantly holds an exhaustive licensing deal for over 50 million tracks, according to the New York Times. Still, some smaller record labels are crying foul and claiming that MySpace is streaming music from their artists without permission.
The Merlin Network, which strikes digital licensing deals for a variety of labels, says content from over 100 of its clients can be found on MySpace. Those labels include Beggars Group, Domino, and Merge Records — home of artists like Arcade Fire, Conor Oberst, and She & Him. There's just one problem: the licensing agreement between Merlin and MySpace lapsed last year. "While it’s nice that Mr. Timberlake is launching his service on this platform, and acting as an advocate for the platform,” Merlin's chief executive Charles Caldas told the Times, “on the other hand his peers as artists are being exploited without permission and not getting remuneration for it.” MySpace insists that any tracks belonging to labels under Merlin's representation have been uploaded by users and will be removed upon request.