(AP) -- Social-networking site MySpace is using its joint venture with recording companies to launch a music video service that will pop into millions of profiles at rival Facebook as well.
Starting Wednesday, music videos that MySpace has licensed for its site will run as well on the iLike music recommendation application, which the News Corp. unit acquired this month for $20 million.
The videos also will have a dedicated MySpace Music Videos page and be featured more prominently on artist pages and in search results on both MySpace and on a Google music search service set to launch next week.
Music videos have always been a part of MySpace. With the new service, MySpace-branded ones will also be playable inside iLike applications embedded on competing social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Orkut and hi5. They will replace videos that iLike used to get from Google Inc.'s YouTube.
Advertising embedded in the videos will benefit the MySpace Music venture, which is jointly owned by MySpace and the major recording companies - Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group PLC.
The videos will come with "overlay" ads, which are partly translucent and don't interrupt the video. Buttons on the ads will let viewers easily buy song downloads from Amazon.com Inc. or Apple Inc.'s iTunes music store. Any transactions will generate a small fee for MySpace.
MySpace is also launching an "artists dashboard" that will let artists see how many people are playing their music or interacting with their blogs. They'll get breakdowns by age and location, allowing musicians to plan tours or target advertising.
The moves mark the first product announcements by Chief Executive Owen Van Natta since he replaced co-founder Chris DeWolfe in April. He was to explain them at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Van Natta told The Associated Press he was refocusing the company on fewer projects and improving the experience of users, saying its previous product roadmap "was a mile wide and an inch deep."
The site is jettisoning its weather, jobs and classified applications and focusing on music, entertainment, games and how friends interact with them.
The music video product "represents a jumping off point for how you should expect to see us start to add value to users in these content categories," he said.
The changes come even as Universal Music Group and Sony are teaming up to create a music video site hosted by YouTube called "Vevo," and as Warner Music plans its own music video channels on YouTube by the end of the year.
ILike has 55 million registered users and 9 million visitors a month, according to MySpace, which bought the site to help MySpace stay relevant even as its users share songs, videos and games away from their MySpace home pages.
On the Net:
MySpace Music Videos, http://bit.ly/1lvSPi
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