The fall of MySpace has been seared in the memories of plenty of us in Brisbane Web Design as it is a pretty gruesome reminder of the way just a few subtle differences in web design and user interface can mean all the difference. And I do mean ALL. At its peak in 2008, MySpace was attracting 75.9 million unique visitors a month, compared to last June where it was down to 33 million and dropping daily. Most of its users are presumed to have moved over to Facebook, which back in 2008 was pretty surprising as the two sites had almost the exact same functionality and web design.
MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for $580 million in 2005, and last June was sold to Chris and Tim Vanderhook along with business partner/ famous guy Justin Timberlake for the comparatively sad price of $35 million. Since then the trio has been hell bent on revamping and reimaging the site and their hard work may have just begun to pay off.
Justin Timberlake put much of his own money into the deal because he wanted users to have a place where they “can go to interact with their favourite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect”.
And hey, let’s be honest, he has a point. The one selling point MySpace had , and to a degree still has, over Facebook is the music element. As much as MySpace was a social networking website for individuals, it was also a social networking and marketing device for bands, and bands of any size, from your neighbour’s garage metal band to the likes of say… Justin Timberlake. How often at a the end of a gig did I hear, ‘Thanks everyone, we’re XYZ, you can find us on MySpace’. However since MySpace’s demise bands are a little less willing to promote their MySpace page, many opting to delete it, as the ‘MySpace band page’ has become almost as much of a faux pa as MySpace on the whole. Keyword: almost. This is what the Vanderhooks and Timberlake have identified as their way back in. Rather than aiming to re-create the MySpace of old, a social networking site to rival Facebook, they have introduced a number of new features such as a new music player and a deal with Panasonic for MySpace TV, which will allow social sharing and commenting on music videos and television shows.
These new additions to their web design are shaping the site as a music and video sharing site, not a competitor to Facebook. In fact with Facebook’s new profile the Facebook timeline, which now allows outside sites- such a MySpace- to add content to user’s timeline, MySpace has seen a boost in growth. The idea is that Facebook will benefit from MySpace’s library of over 47 million tracks, much larger than Spotify or Rhapsody, and MySpace will benefit from the exposure to the Facebook traffic, a win-win for both parties- what a long way they have come…