Social networking hub MySpace said it is acquiring iLike, a popular music application on rival Facebook, in the first move by new management to expand after a series of drastic cuts and writedowns.
The $20 million agreement to purchase iLike confirmed rumours that had circulated this week. ILike, which has 55 million users, will remain headquartered in Seattle, and its management team will stay intact, with brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi in the top two slots. They founded the service in 2006 with $16.5 million in venture capital, mostly from Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.
MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, told reporters on a conference call that iLike technology will help MySpace users share songs, videos and games away from their MySpace home pages.
For instance, iLike already has 10 million users on Facebook. It attaches itself to Apple Inc.’s iTunes music store with song recommendations, notifies fans of upcoming concerts and Twitter posts by their favourite artists and allows people to see what their friends are listening to. It began selling songs in the MP3 format on Friday and is the No. 1 referrer of customers to Ticketmaster.com.
“We believe what iLike has created isn’t limited to just music and should extend to all the areas important to MySpace users, such as entertainment, video, and games,” he said.
Facebook, which ranked iLike among its top eight applications and the third most popular in its entertainment segment, said it did not expect the acquisition to affect its users.
Van Natta said the iLike technology would complement its MySpace Music joint venture, a free music streaming and discovery platform it launched with major recording companies in September. The two services, however, will not be integrated right away.
He noted that MySpace Music was “doing extremely well,” with monthly visitors nearly tripled since launch to 12.1 million in June, according to Nielsen figures.