Bringing Myspace back

in Brand Social Technology
by Steven Tubby

In 2005 MySpace was de rigueur for creative early adopters, favoured by musicians, designers and artisans it was the granddaddy of social networking, it boasted at its peak more unique visits than Google. Inciting Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to part with $580m to be at the forefront of the social media revolution.

These days it is like the proverbial ghost town after the mass exodus caused when someone, Mark Zuckerberg probably, shouted “there’s gold in these here blue and white hills!” But it’s not all Facebook’s fault, while others were evolving, MySpace’s idea of innovation was to allow you more glitter, rainbows and unicorns to be added. The visual pollution was equaled only by the literal pollution of the Exxon Valdez.

Seven years later and it seems there is life in the old dog yet, with rumours of Justin Timberlake bringing sexy back. Ironically JT played Sean Parker, an investor in the early days of Facebook, in the movie The Social Network. Timberlake is also a major shareholder in Specific, the company that acquired the social media dinosaur from News Corp for the piddly sum of $35m. Furthermore he features heavily in new Myspace’s promotional video.

So what’s changed? Apart from losing an upper case ‘S’ the video makes it look like a surprisingly user friendly and pleasant experience. Gone is the clunky and garish interface in favour of an elegant sideways scrolling timeline and it would seem they’ve already resigned themselves to a world where Twitter and Facebook cannot be beaten, evidenced by allowing you log in using details from either.

What remains unclear is how they will monetise it, as many people are already becoming uncomfortable with Facebook’s blatant strip mining of their personal data. Twitters approach is less intrusive with the occasional ‘targeted’ promotional tweet or trend but brings in a fraction of Facebook’s revenue. With the heavily music linked themes running through the video I would imagine it will centre largely around promotion of new acts and albums, but again this is an area already dominated by the likes of iTunes, Spotify and internet radio apps like Pandora.

What is clear however is that Specific, Myspace’s new owners, are in fact at their core an advertising agency so I am sure they have the business model covered. And if the other improvements are anything to go by, I’m hoping for a user experience only slightly impaired by the use of unobtrusive, selective and appropriate advertising and promotion.

So, click here to watch the introductory video or solicit an invitation.