Thu 13 Jan 2011

MySpace: The Final Frontier?


Social networking site MySpace has been the word on every (entertainment and social media monkey’s) lips during the past few days with the not unexpected announcement that it has decided to scale down as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube continue to overshadow this once revolutionary social media channel.  Bad news for the 500 employers who have lost their jobs and bad news for plenty of musicians too we reckon.

Since trying to overhaul, update and promote its image last year, MySpace has continued to struggle as the Facebook juggarnaut continues on its path of world domination.  It’s not all Facebook’s fault though.  Twitter, YouTube and blogging sites such as Tumblr have all come a long way since MySpace reigned King back in 2006.  And there’s new ones popping up everywhere all the time.  That’s the problem with social media – the cyber world is a promiscuous, unloyal place.  Fans will flock to something new and exciting – but they’ll leave it just as quickly too, as soon as the next best thing comes along.  Look at poor little Bebo.

But MySpace is different and will still hold a firm place in the hearts of plenty of musicians whom it helped or even launched their careers.  Lily Allen, Panic! At The Disco, Taylor Swift, Arctic Monkeys, Kate Nash, The Devil Wears Prada as well as plenty of others have a lot to thank MySpace for.  But was it just a case of hanging around the right place at the right time?  How many musicians could do the same now that everybody’s abandoning ship?

MySpace profiles also serve as a primary url/website for a large number of unsigned or new bands and musicians who might not have their own website, allowing them to upload and share information with their fans.  Yes other platforms, like Tumblr for example, can do this but is it as effective?  In a recent interview with BBC Radio1, Tinie Tempah says he’s all but deserted MySpace in favour of Twitter and Facebook because that’s where his fans are.  But how much of this fan base is down to his original MySpace profile and how many have migrated from there with him?  I think this might be the case for many artists.  For lesser known and unsigned artists, I reckon it’s quite difficult to build up an impressive army of fans just from Tweeting alone.  Same goes for Facebook and although there’s lots more options for a media rich platform, privacy obstacles will undoubtedly get in the way.

From personal experience with social media, a variety of platforms seems to be the best option for artists to connect with their fans. And, from our perspective, MySpace is a great way to direct our fans and followers to artists they might not be familiar with in terms of variety of info.  Some people want to listen to the music, some prefer video and some just want to know what the band is about, without having to commit to ‘liking’ them, joining a group or signing up to a newsletter/membership.  MySpace doesn’t have to disappear altogether and there are rumours that a spinoff is in the pipeline.  Just don’t give up on it just yet.

Or maybe Facebook will just barge on in there and buy it.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Maybe my mum was onto something when she’s been calling it MyFace all these years….