MySpace has agreed to acquire iLike, a social music startup. The move has been driven by a need to counter the growing popularity of Facebook.
"The iLike acquisition advances our relentless pursuit of innovation and the need to create new distributed social experiences in music and beyond," said Owen Van Natta, CEO of MySpace, in a statement. "We are deeply committed to bringing world class talent into all areas of the company and this acquisition demonstrates our focus on this objective."
iLike calls itself a music discovery service that runs on the Facebook, Orkut, hi5 and Bebo platforms. With a reported 55 million registered users, the site is geared to help people share playlists and music recommendations, as well as receive concert alerts.
The company's CEO Ali Partovi, its president Hadi Partovi, CTO Nat Brown and all 26 remaining iLike employees will join MySpace and continue to work on iLike technology, Van Natta noted in a blog post.
"iLike users and the artist community should expect the iLike experience to be unaffected by the acquisition," wrote Van Natta. "By joining forces with iLike, you should expect that we'll be testing more things and building product that keeps both platforms highly engaging and social."
MySpace was once a pioneer in social networking but has allowed Facebook to significantly eclipse it in terms of market and mind share.
This past spring, MySpace had hoped to regain some of its lost momentum after Chris DeWolfe stepped down as the company's CEO. But a rocky economy and continued pressure from Facebook forced MySpace this summer to cut its US staff by 30% and its global staff by two-thirds.
Van Natta blogged that the acquisition of iLike could prove to be a great boon MySpace.
"What the iLike team has done with music is applicable to all of the areas that are important to MySpace users today such as entertainment, video, and games," he wrote. "On MySpace, users connect with the content they love in a centralized and social environment. On iLike, users can access the content they love in a highly distributed environment across their favorite Web sites. This shared vision around content distribution is a key component to the future of MySpace."