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iLike, TuneCore make indie music together

Independent artists who distribute their music through TuneCore can now get a cut of the ad revenue when it's streamed on iLike, per a new agreement.

Hey, indie bands. Does MySpace Music's big focus on the major labels make you sad? iLike wants to hear from you--literally.

The "social music" company, best-known for its add-on apps for Facebook and iTunes, has partnered with music distribution start-up TuneCore so that unsigned artists can market their music through iLike and get royalties when it's streamed there.

TuneCore already lets independent artists sell their music through iTunes, Amazon MP3, and Rhapsody, which has a deal with iLike (and MTV and Yahoo).

It's not surprising that a company such as iLike would choose to make a move in favor of indie artists. The most high-profile digital-music initiative to emerge this year was MySpace Music, a streaming and retail marketplace created by the News Corp.-owned social network. But while MySpace got its start as a promotional center for indie bands, MySpace Music has focused on the four major labels, all of which have invested in the project. While independent distributor The Orchard also has contributed to MySpace Music, some indie musicians have said they feel jilted.

iLike CEO Ali Partovi says partnering with TuneCore isn't, in fact, a MySpace Music-induced move.

"Not at all. We've been in dialogue, I think, since February," Partovi said of TuneCore. "We've been fans of each others' companies for a long time, trying to work out a way to work with each other, and this was well under way before all of that (MySpace Music) surfaced. We generally have tried to focus on what we're doing ourselves, not to do things in response."

He added, "Frankly, I think the talk about MySpace's issue--I think over time, they will work that out too." MySpace Music is indeed still new and has plenty of time to renew its focus on the indies. But for now, iLike has quite the opportunity.