MySpace Music signs IODA, but where's Merlin?

The upstart music service chugs along signing distributors but no word yet from Merlin, the licensing group for 12,000 indie labels. MySpace Music still has a ways to go.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval

Correction: The headline of this story incorrectly identified IODA as a label.

MySpace Music has signed a deal that will bring independent music artists to the site. And boy does Rupert Murdoch's upstart music service want to ballyhoo this announcement.

IODA, a company that aggregates and distributes digital music for indie artists, said Wednesday that it has agreed to supply more than a 1 million tracks to MySpace Music. Terms of the deal were not released.

In the month since MySpace Music launched, the indie community has bashed the service for not offering the same kind of favorable terms it gave to the four largest recording companies, such as an equity stake in the company. And the IODA deal is now supposed to show that MySpace really does care about indie artists...really. In the breathless e-mail building up the announcement, a MySpace representative wrote "we need to talk about the sexy embargo" and "it's a highly sensitive deal."

Talk about overselling. Signing IODA in no way means MySpace is off the hook with the indies or their fans. What MySpace has to do to prove it's serious about independent artists is sign Merlin?

San Francisco-based IODA, which distributes music for 50,000 artists is absolutely an important member of Merlin, the international music licensing group, but Merlin represents 12,000 labels. MySpace still has a long way to go.