Can Justin and co bring Myspace back?
It was the most-visited social network until Facebook stole its thunder. Now the site hopes a makeover will change its status
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Thursday 27 September 2012
Myspace, the site that arguably started the last decade's social-network boom when it was launched in 2003, has unveiled its latest major redesign (right), its fourth such attempt to keep pace with the likes of Facebook. Now part-owned by Justin Timberlake (far right), Myspace is sticking with its music-based strategy – allowing users to pair playlists with photo albums, for example – and even making it easier to integrate their Myspace accounts with those rival services.
Though the redesign is yet to go live, an announcement at new.myspace.com claims its creators are "hard at work building the new Myspace, entirely from scratch… we'd love you to be a part of our brand new community". A video demonstration of the forthcoming site, meanwhile, gives a taste of what people can expect. It looks very handsome, though it does also look a lot like other social networks: a touch of Tumblr, a pinch of Pinterest, a soupçon of Spotify.
At its peak, Myspace (previously styled as MySpace) claimed hundreds of millions of users, and was credited with launching the careers of the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen, among others. In 2005 it was bought for $580m (£361m) by News Corp, but after haemorrhaging users, the company commissioned its first big overhaul in 2010. Sold (and then redesigned) again last year to Timberlake and Specific Media, for the knock-down price of $35m (£22m), it now has more modest user numbers of 54 million.
The challenge is to win back those who have fled to Facebook and elsewhere. With social networkers now adept at switching back and forth between their networks, Myspace will have to do at least one thing better than those more specialist services to attract new users. But with the support of artists such as Timberlake, and its supposedly unrivalled library of 42 million tracks, music may yet be its salvation.
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