MySpace has long been a haven for independent and commercial musicians alike to talk with fans and to spread the word about new music. Now the Web site is starting up a new download service called "MySpace Music" with some of the biggest names in commercial music.

MySpace Music is being launched in partnership with Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and will offer digital music downloads, ad-supported audio and video streaming, a mobile storefront and sponsorship opportunities, according to a statement released by the companies. The companies plan to launch MySpace Music's new features iteratively in the coming months.

Right now, MySpace's music site serves as a way for artists to connect with listeners and, through an embedded music player, let them preview forthcoming or currently released albums and singles. But when it comes to actually buying content, users are pushed off to digital music download services or links to retailers and e-tailers. With this announcement, MySpace is working with major music publishers to leverage itself as an e-commerce site to complete with the likes of Apple's iTunes Store and Amazon.com's MP3 Store.

MySpace Music plans to sell music without Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. Mobile phone users will also be able to listen to and buy music through Jamba, a News Corp.-owned service that sells ringtones, wall papers and other contents for cell phones. MySpace Music will also enable artist to sell merchandise like t-shirts and concert tickets.