News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) MySpace has been missing out on Facebook's lightning, but it's not beyond stealing its thunder.

MySpace is buying iLike, a music-discovery app with a social networking angle that's been a hit on Facebook for two years.

There are 55 million iLike users, delivering 1.5 billion monthly impressions. News Corp. isn't disclosing the price, but several published sources have it at a mere $19.5 million. MySpace is paying roughly $0.35 per user, and that's before we get into the platform's potential itself.

It sounds like a great buy for News Corp. -- at a great price -- but digital music has been a hard sell these days.

Things were a lot better for the industry a couple of years ago. Ticketmaster (NASDAQ:TKTM) bought a 25% stake in iLike three years ago. CBS (NYSE:CBS) bought a few months later.

Market excitement has faded as a result of rising music royalties for the sites that host music and the ineffectiveness of other models that rely primarily on motivating freeloaders to buy tracks through Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Music Store.

iLike may have been one of the earliest exploiters of Facebook's outstretched arms to app developers, but MySpace is still the social networking site that most indie artists rely on to stay connected with their fans.

MySpace is doing a lot to get unsigned artists noticed, but iLike is also hoping to throw independent musicians a bone.

"We're delighted to be selling music from all the major labels and hundreds of indie labels through our partnership with MediaNet," iLike's founders note in an email yesterday to MySpace Music artists. "We've heard loud and clear from lots of independent artists who want to find ways to sell their music directly. We have nothing to announce about this yet, but your feedback has been heard, just give us some time."

This is just one more reason for Warner Music Group (NYSE:WMG), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and the rest of the major labels to worry. Once gain, a popular site is offering artists the chance to be heard without inking a prohibitive record deal.

Indie artists should like -- or at the very least iLike -- this very much.

Do you think digital sites like iLike are helping or hurting the major labels? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz had enough of an ugly glimpse into the inner workings of the music industry when his band was signed to Sony's Columbia Records many moons ago. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.