Imprint to run through Interscope, Fontana.
MySpace.com, one of the top music destinations on the Internet, is starting its own record label.
The imprint, to be manufactured by Universal Music Group's Interscope Records and distributed by Universal's indie arm Fontana Distribution, will begin life Nov. 15 with the release of the compilation "MySpace Records: Volume I."
That initial title, lowball priced at $9.98, will feature a mix of tracks by major-label, indie-label and unsigned acts, including Weezer, the All-American Rejects, Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy, AFI, Against Me, Plain White T's, New Year's Day and Hollywood Undead.
The latter act, a Los Angeles rock/rap act, is MySpace's first signing. The group will issue its own album on the label early in the second quarter of 2006.
MySpace Records should find an immediate audience, for the Web site that spawned it -- founded as an online community where members could share their likes and dislikes -- has become a heavily trafficked home for musicians and music fans of all stripes.
MySpace.com, which boasts more than 35 million members, sports pages for more than 550,000 artists and bands. According to Media Metrix, it was the fourth-ranked Web domain in August in terms of page views, ranking behind Yahoo!, eBay and MSN and ahead of Hotmail, Google and AOL.
The major labels have come to understand the wisdom of promoting their acts on MySpace: This year, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, the Black Eyed Peas and Death Cab for Cutie, among others, have promoted their new releases with album world premieres and music streaming on the site. All those titles enjoyed debuts at or near the top of the Billboard 200. Madonna's new album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," due Nov. 15, will be streamed exclusively on the site.
In July, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. purchased MySpace's parent Intermix Media for about $580 million.
"It's become a lot more than a Web site," MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe said. "It's become a lifestyle brand. It makes a lot of sense to come up with a record label."
DeWolfe added: "Radio has become less and less important. ... MySpace, by getting so huge, can truly move the needle in terms of musical tastes."
Concerning Interscope's involvement, DeWolfe said: "We sign the bands. We market the bands. They make sure the records get on the shelves." However, Interscope can partner in the marketing of acts from the first stages of development, or can upstream independently distributed MySpace talent.
Interscope A&R executive Luke Wood said MySpace is "a profoundly new model for reaching fans with music. It's fans talking to fans about music. It's a really dynamic and exciting way to market bands. ... It's a pure win-win for us because they're one of the most progressive media companies out there."
DeWolfe noted that MySpace.com's new ownership opens the door to spreading the label's music. "We also have the backing of News Corp. to get into other media," he said.
MySpace president Tom Anderson said the number of MySpace releases in the first year "depends more on the artists we can find. ... I'm talking to about four bands right now."
MySpace Records will be based in the Web firm's Santa Monica offices. The label will initially employ seven to 10 staffers.