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Originally published Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM

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MTV launching broad online store for musicians

MTV is launching a broad platform of musician Web pages in a bid to replace MySpace.

AP Entertainment Writer

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AUSTIN, Texas —

MTV is launching a broad platform of musician Web pages in a bid to replace MySpace.

MTV Music Group President Van Toffler announced the initiative Thursday at the South By Southwest Music Conference.

The site, Artists.MTV, will launch this summer. It will begin with more than 10,000 artist pages and an expectation to expand. Musicians can customize their pages with music, video, merchandise and ticket sales.

Artists.MTV will be open to established acts and aspiring ones. MTV describes it as a chance for acts to have "a digital homestead" to gather their presence across MTV and its myriad sister channels and websites.

"There is infinite choice out there, but with this artist platform, we want to provide a meaningful road map for consumers to weed through the chaos and discover the musical gems that should break through," Toffler said in a statement.

MySpace, the once-popular social network that was dethroned years ago by Facebook, has been reconfigured to focus on its still visited music section. The site, once valued in the billions of dollars, was sold last year to Specific Media for $35 million.

Toffler said MTV also will hope to bridge digital fame to its television networks, which include VH1 and CMT. A monthly contest called "Full Frontal" will select an artist to be featured on MTV, VH1 or CMT. The act will be chosen from fan votes and then a revolving panel of musicians, industry members and music producers.

The site will launch in private beta in May.

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