MySpace is hoping to shake up the digital music scene.
The popular online hangout plans to flip the switch Thursday on a much-anticipated service that will give its roughly 120 million users free access to hundreds of thousands of songs from the world's largest recording labels.
But there's a catch.
The music can be played only on personal computers connected to the Internet and listeners have to tolerate advertising splashed across the screen. Anyone who wants to transfer a song to a portable device like Apple's iPod will have to buy the music through Amazon.com's year-old downloading service, which sells songs for as little as 79 cents apiece.
Unlike much of the material at Apple's iTunes store, the music sold through MySpace's new service won't contain the protections that limit how many times a track can be copied.