As I celebrated my birthday last week, I got a reminder of
how quickly time passes when a release about MySpace landed
in my inbox.
Now, some of you older readers may remember MySpace, which
was around way before Facebook and Twitter.
Lately, I find myself increasingly drawn to Twitter as a way
of making immediate communication with someone or watching
various sorts of dramas and arguments evolve before my eyes.
The release that landed was called: Can Justin Timberlake
breathe new life into MySpace?
When the number of its members is compared to Facebook's
nearly one billion, MySpace is considered extinct by many
On June 30, News Corporation sold MySpace to
singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake and Chris and Tim
Their plan is to completely rebuild the site from scratch.
Last Wednesday, MySpace announced its fourth major redesign
as it seeks to regain relevance in the face of falling
The site aims to focus more on music and offer deeper
integration with Facebook and Twitter.
But it faces stiff competition from online platforms offering
to connect artists and fans.
According to measurement firm comScore, the MySpace audience
is 54 million.
This is down from hundreds of millions at its peak in 2005.
A message on the website announced the redesign: "We're hard
at work building the new MySpace, entirely from scratch.
"But we're staying true to our roots in one important way -
empowering people to express themselves however they want."
It called on fans to join "our brand new community" and
offered a sneak preview of the redesign.
"Those interested in joining were asked to leave an email
contact and "expect an invite soon".
The BBC says the new-look MySpace aims to put music at the
heart. Users can control audio content from a navigation
panel and pair photograph albums with playlists in a kind of
social media mix tape to mark any occasion.
A Discover tab within the navigation panel will offer access
to trending artists, music, mixes, radio, videos, news, and
forthcoming concerts. The items can be dragged into personal
There is also an emphasis on what's called Artist Pages, with
the promise of lots of tracks, albums and videos.
MySpace was sold to Rupert Murdoch's news empire in 2005.
News Corp paid $US580 million ($NZ707 million) for the social
network, but users and advertisers left the site for rival
social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
MySpace underwent a major makeover in 2010, rebranding itself
as a "social entertainment site".
But ithis was not enough, and in June 2011, News Corp sold
MySpace to online advertiser Specific Media for $US35 million
- a huge loss.
A further rebrand after the sale promised it would become
"the number 1 online community music destination".
Music and media analyst Mark Mulligan said he thought this
latest rebrand was the "deepest" yet.
"At its peak, MySpace was a trailblazer for bringing together
fans and artists, but it faces stiff competition from sites
such as TopSpin and Pledge Music, which offer artists tools
to establish relationships with fans," he said.
MySpace could not just go over old ground, he said.
It had to offer artists a reason why they would choose to go
there rather than to Facebook.
It needed to become a social platform for bands and not just
an alternative to Facebook, Mr Mulligan said.
The redesigned MySpace now puts music at its centre.
It is a place for artists to connect with their fans.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Timberlake's role is
obvious when it comes to promoting and recruiting, but he
will not reveal who will be his first targets.
Eventually, the site will reach out to undiscovered talents
and their fans, he says.
There will have to be a good reason for us all to move to
Music will be a reason, but whether it will be good enough
will be the challenge needed to be faced up to and overcome