Perfect Porridge

10 Reasons to Be Excited for New MySpace


New MySpace is like Spotify and Facebook combined. Kind of like MySpace.

MySpace is back. No, really.

November 2012 marked the one year anniversary of helping our last client close down their MySpace community. Once the go-to destination to reach the coveted 18-24 demographic (and younger), MySpace was eventually overrun by spammers, amateur customizations, and couldn’t compete with Facebook’s clean, non-customizable layout, and spam systems. And it certainly wasn’t created with the mobile-first revolution in mind. Rather than scale, it died. And we wanted it to die. We gladly moved to Facebook and Twitter.

And yet once widespread diaspora killed any chance of MySpace retaining users (do you even remember your password? be honest), Facebook mimicked many core MySpace features, including brand pages, customized cover pages, and event organizing. There was no reason to return. Until now.

While Facebook is where the brands, bands and communities are, what Facebook has never gotten quite right is tools to support musicians and their fans. The original MySpace was golden for bands who wanted a one-stop destination to stream music, list tour dates, and build and engage a guerrilla fan base.

Since the launch of Brand Pages, Facebook has forced bands to use clunky tabs and third-party tools for streams and tour dates — to the point of fracturing any type of standards that fans could expect.

For example, hit the Muse page, then Wiping Out Thousands, then Metric, and try to quickly locate an audio stream, latest video and upcoming tour dates. Good luck.

As a music blogger who hits a few new band pages a day, this is SO FRUSTRATING to the point I’ve been getting more and more excited for the launch of New MySpace, with the assumption Justin Timberlake and crew will think music + fans first.

Yes, I’ve been excited for New MySpace…

I’m maybe the only person in the world with high expectations for MySpace…

So, I got a beta invitation while sitting in the Reagan airport in DC on Monday night. On my iPad.

And I freaked out!

Within minutes, I had a profile set up, bio populated and links. And I was streaming music.

Because that’s what New MySpace is all about. The music.

After only a few days experimenting with the new social network, my translation is as follows: New MySpace is like Spotify and Facebook combined. Kind of like MySpace. And it’s not Facebook who needs to be worried — it’s Spotify and Pandora.

10 Reasons to Be Excited for New MySpace

  1. Music first. This platform has a streaming player built into its core.
  2. Database of free streaming music. I haven’t read what kinds of label deals JT struck, but I had no problem searching for old Meat Puppets, new Phish and obscure compilation albums (Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel!). You can search by artist, album, track and genre. I don’t care about Top 40 at all, but I assume that’s where they started. We’ll see.
  3. The mixtape will never die. New MySpace has an “Add to Mix” next to each track and album. From there, you populate the tracks into a custom-named mix with chance to upload your own photo. The also have a Radio section that functions similarly to Pandora and Spotify. Smart music discovery, ftw.
  4. Audio + Visual. I searched for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and next thing you know Kurt and the cheerleaders have taken over the background of the window as the classic video is playing. You can tag videos into your mixes, truly making MySpace a multimedia destination for bands.
  5. Permalinks. Just like Spotify, you can snag and share direct links to songs, artists, albums and your custom mixes. This is key for sharing MySpace to socnets outside MySpace (and for music bloggers!).
  6. Interface. The horizontal scroll is awkward at first, but I got used to it quickly. Think of it as a sideways timeline. As you continue browsing while a music video is playing, the player shrinks to a thumbnail and continues playing uninterrupted. It also worked responsively on my iPad, albeit with a few UX bugs. (note: I wasn’t able to get New MySpace to load on my phone – assuming an app is forthcoming).
  7. Brand-free (so far). I work for a big PR firm and help lead social strategies, so I’ll be careful here. But it goes without saying most marketers are pretty clumsy in their approach to “buying engagement” rather than adding value. For now, there are no pop-ups or screechingly-loud, non-targeted audio interruptions like you get with Spotify and Pandora. There’s no free lunch, but New MySpace is no longer owned by NewsCorp and is hopefully thinking long-term about how to monetize their new platform.
  8. The chance to start over. And I don’t mean for MySpace. I mean for us: the users. One of the most attractive things of the Path socnet last year was the chance to built my social network anew. This time I would not befriend all my high school classmates I was never really friends with — or that anonymous dude from Saint Paul with the interesting profile pic. With MySpace, I’m making a commitment to only “Connect” with people worth connecting with. I urge you to do the same.
  9. Firehose = on. Unlike Facebook, which is throttling content and filtering the amount of data to keep us from being overwhelmed, New MySpace is showing you everything your friends post. Like Twitter. That means bands won’t have to pay for fans to see their posts. Heck yes.
  10. Low Expectations. High Opportunity. Guess who isn’t trying to double their stock price to recover from embellished expectations? Guess who created a socnet nobody is betting will triumph? There is only room to go up for MySpace.

Oustanding questions:

  • What will the experience be like for local/regional bands to get their content into the MySpace system?
  • Will monetization kill the current ad-free user-experience?
  • Can the awkward horizontal scroll be better optimized?
  • Will the music industry (and its fans) embrace a new socnet?
  • Is responsive design enough to power New MySpace without an app? What will the app be like?
  • Will you “Connect” with me on MySpace?

Overall, I give New MySpace a +M. I still have high expectations but know better. That’s what passion and love of music is all about.