Talking about regeneration: The revival of MySpace

The phrase “a rolling stone gathers no moss,” has become a motto for the ever-evolving music industry. With new styles, looks and artists constantly rolling out, music helps to characterise society and captures a moment in time. For example, the mood of the 1960s was defined by Bob Dylan, as he paved the path of innovation and change, from folk-singer to fully-fledged rock star, while David Bowie followed suit in the 1970s by continually changing his look, sporting on average, sixty-four haircuts a month. But it is not only rock stars that audiences expect continual change from, social networking sites are now falling under more scrutiny and finding the need to channel their inner chameleon in order maintain their popularity.

The new MySpace

Just look at Facebook, a site whose image successfully changed from geeky alumni hangout to global hotspot in less than a decade. Similarly, MySpace went from being a platform for cool, underground bands hitting back at the man (in the hope that he gives them a money-laden contract) and a place for teens to swap photos, comments and music, to an unused online desolate town.

So how did MySpace fall so fast? The decline of MySpace coincided with other social media platforms arriving, providing the growing market with new and interesting features and ways to interact. Most importantly though, they evolved with their users, something that MySpace forgot as it plied people with adverts and poorly executed interface changes.

In September of this year, however, MySpace grew up, and in the process shed its former advert-heavy image for a newer, sleeker and more user-friendly appearance. A recently released video shows a modern MySpace, one with new life breathed into it and an ambitious goal to gain lost ground in the social media market. The new site is being launched soon but music fans everywhere are scrambling for an early invite.

So what does this new MySpace have to offer? Well, music is still a key focus with big names and underground bands still showcasing their material, in a far less contrived manner than days gone by. It would also seem that MySpace is hoping to regain its crown, albeit, rather quietly and via the stage door. Users can sign up through their Twitter or Facebook account, skip the usual registration process, and MySpace executives hope that a new generation of users – specifically those aged 18-35 – will try the platform and stick with it.

The new platform is good. It is a blend of Spotify, Facebook and Pinterest, enticing former users back for a new, more grown-up online experience. And of course, it cannot go unsaid that the new face of MySpace is none other than Mr. Justin Timberlake, the poster boy of American niceness, a man who can seemingly do nothing wrong. So what does this man with a Teflon personality bring to the table? Well quite a lot actually. Not only do the majority of major recording artists, half of Hollywood and the tabloid press like him, but the best part of the public are quite partial to Mr JT too.

It seems that Mr. Timberlake is quite the businessman, though it is not his CV that will save MySpace (by that reckoning Murdock would have succeeded years ago). No, the reason that Timberlake has entered this business, and the reason he will succeed, is because he is trustworthy.

He is not a banker or a politician, he is a pop star-come- entrepreneur and by that logic he can be trusted. There is little doubt that he will bring other big stars to the platform too, he would not have entered the business without calling in a few high profile favours.

Though what does this mean for the everyday user? Well you will be able to access niche music – either from unsigned bands or special releases direct from big artists – and create playlists that will be visible to your friends.  You can also share pictures and comments, and you can access a rather neat heat-map, which allows you to see what different parts of the world are searching for and listening to.

The success of artists such as Dylan and Bowie was down to their continual change and artistic growth, and it is much the same as now online. Websites are forced to pioneer and trail-blaze or else they will be left behind, the only question is, has MySpace left it too late?

Check out the new MySpace and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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