LOS ANGELES - MySpace is further defining itself as a place to find music rather than a catchall social networking site, as it launched earlier this month a music-video player that plays random videos to match users' mood.
The MySpace Music Romeo application lets users select from 15 genres such as pop or hip hop and 13 moods including "chill," "naughty" and "studying." Videos play automatically, interspersed with artist images and an advertisement every 15 minutes or so.
Users can "love" videos (thus, the name Romeo), and then get more videos such as the ones they choose. But they won't be able to search for specific songs.
The back-end technology that helps determine recommendations is provided by Australian company We Are Hunted, which scours the Internet for artists and songs with the greatest buzz and mixes that with users' personal tastes.
MySpace Music President Courtney Holt says the randomness of the service will prompt users to discover new artists.
"Inevitably if you use this application, you will find an artist that you've never heard of before that you will fall in love with," he says.
The Romeo application launches both as a free app for Apple Inc.'s iPad and as an application that can be played from computer Web browsers.
It won't be available on the iPhone's small screen; Holt says MySpace wanted to maintain the best video-watching experience possible. Recording companies, which have partnered with MySpace on the MySpace Music joint venture, also have been shying away from free, on-the-go offerings that could sap sales on iTunes. Instead, recording companies have been pushing mobile services that offer $10-per-month music subscription plans intended to boost consumer spending overall.
MySpace, a unit of News Corp., plans to launch several mobile apps in the coming months amid an overhaul to freshen its look and focus more on its core younger-than-35 audience.
MySpace, with 120 million users globally, hopes to stay relevant with a younger crowd rather than compete with Facebook, whose user base has ballooned to half a billion and skews older.