Free downloads on the way for MySpace

Major labels could be warming to ad-supported free downloads The times they are a' changin over in digital download land. As we've already seen wi

Major labels could be warming to ad-supported free downloads

The times they are a' changin over in digital download land. As we've already seen with various DRM-free content deals, the lumbering 18-wheeler that is the music industry is performing a slow turning circle.

And this week it seems that plentiful free, legal downloads are one step closer to becoming a reality as MySpace announced that it was in talks with major labels to provide the service on its site. Whether this is a widget-style player, on-demand streams or actual, bona fide DRM-free downloads remains to be seen.

Just like the wildly optimistic Qtrax, the model is based upon content supported by ads, the revenue of which would be shared with the record label. Only this time, we're hoping that some labels might actually sign up.

Not only would this be a shot in the arm for MySpace against the rapidly expanding Facebook, it would give the music bigwigs a huge target audience and a distribution option other than iTunes.

Whether or not Joe Consumer will go for ad-supported content, or whether the music industry can agree on this before the 12th of Never, we'll have to wait and see....