Major League Baseball's online arm, MLB Advanced Media (or just MLB.com) has always been fairly aggressive in trying to stretch out beyond just running a bunch of official baseball websites. The company, which apparently recently scrapped IPO plans over questions about who would get a cut, has tried in the past to run websites for other sports as well. Last year, they also bought Tickets.com so they could sell tickets to both sporting and concert events. However, now it appears they're branching out even further, doing a deal to help run the websites for various musicians -- including big names like The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West and Coldplay. From the perspective of MLB.com, this makes a tremendous amount of sense. While the record labels continue to stumble about as their traditional model is cut out from beneath it, the real money is going to be in selling other things around the content -- and an artist's website is going to be a key part of that. Many musicians realize this already, as the money they make from selling albums is tiny compared to everything else (concerts, merchandise, promotions, sponsorships, etc.). It always seemed logical for the record labels to get into the business of providing support for all those other things as well, but general musician distrust of record labels clearly has them looking at other options -- including Signatures Network, with whom MLB.com has done this deal. Of course, where this could get troublesome is that MLB.com often seems to have an even more draconian view of copyrights than the recording industry. After all, they've been claiming for a while now that the facts of a baseball game are owned by them -- even though you cannot copyright facts.
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