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Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

MySpace mulling own online music service

MySpace is looking to distinguish itself from encroaching competitors such as Facebook by launching an online music service that would offer both streaming and iPod-compatible downloads, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The News Corp.-owned social networking super-site, which maintains over 300 million user accounts, has held talks with all four of the major record labels in recent weeks, the financial paper said.

The service, tentatively dubbed MySpace Music, would reportedly offer both a free ad-supported streaming music model and paid MP3 downloads, which could be played on any digital music player, including Apple's iPod.

In its report, the Journal speculates that MySpace's recent partnership with online video service Hulu, a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp.'s Fox unit, could serve as an example of how the networking site would implement a music service.

However, the paper notes that Universal Music and MySpace are locked in a copyright-infringement lawsuit that would most likely need to be settled before any agreement could be reached on a new service.