Bytesize: Can the new Myspace beat Facebook? We try the new musical social network

 

I want to like it… I really do.

Whether out of nostalgia, for the glittery profiles of my teenage years, or anticipation following last September’s teaser video, part of me is hoping for a Myspace comeback.

The site’s new joint owners are Specific Media and Justin Timberlake, who picked up the dying site from News International for just $35m back in June 2011. They insist that Myspace’s fourth incarnation is more than just a redesign, but with its large images and stylish house font, the new magazine-like look alone is rather striking. However, scratch the surface and it looks like a mishmash of other tried and tested social networking concepts.

Navigating the new site for the first time is like one of those bad dreams where you’re behind the wheel of a car you don’t know how to drive: nothing works how you expect it to. The functionality isn’t quite there (horizontal scrolling is jittery when new content loads) and there’s a lot to take in which is initially off-putting, but stick with it and you’ll soon be rewarded.

Using language typical of a dodgy spiritual healer, users are constantly encouraged to ‘connect’ with things: people, songs, videos. Everything. At first this seems totally pointless, but take a closer look at your Library on the home navigation bar and they’re all organised and saved; this is Pinterest for music. And it works.

Although more of an obligatory catch-up than cutting-edge innovation, one definite improvement is the Grooveshark-esque player at the bottom of the page which replaces those hideously annoying pop-out windows. And if it’s originality you’re after, take a look at the clever search function - just start typing to find the content you’re looking for.

But where the new Myspace really shines is the Discover page. Click it and you’re met with articles about the latest music and film, furthering the site’s magazine feel. You can also navigate the site’s content, conveniently sorted by people, music, videos, radio, and mixes (my personal favourite being the rather pleasingly named ‘Hoop Beats - Music for Hoola Hooping’, currently at number 13). All of this makes finding new music and keeping on top of trends straightforward.

Despite the revamp, some features have survived from the glory days when the sound system of choice at house parties was someone’s Myspace account on a chunky PC hooked up to even chunkier speakers. The profile song lives on (which, thankfully, no longer plays automatically) as does the option to list your top 8 friends on your profile, although many will find Facebook’s randomised approach a bit more diplomatic.

Once ‘a place for friends’, its new owners have since said that the new Myspace won’t be directly competing with the big social networks, opting instead to integrate them (for example, by allowing sign ups via Facebook and Twitter). But this raises a fundamental question: what is Myspace actually for? After all, you’ve already got Spotify and Rdio for listening to music, Facebook integration and last.fm to share it, and Twitter for following your favourite artists.

The social element is more or less redundant; the only point in connecting with friends (which is now done unilaterally à la Twitter and Google+) is to share what you’re listening to. Where the new Myspace stands out is as a platform for discovering new music and curating your tastes; if you find a song you like, you shouldn’t have to put it into a playlist in order to save it, and Myspace recognises that.

Of course, there are improvements to be made (offline mode and keyboard controls, please!) but it’s worth remembering that, after all these years, the site that made the Arctic Monkeys is still bigger than both Google+ and Tumblr. There’s no reason why the new Myspace can’t take advantage of this traction and draw in users who want that little bit more from their music discovery experience.

I wanted to like it, and I did. It may never live up to its old hype, and it’ll certainly take a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn’t write this one off in a hurry.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
A bartender serves beers
news
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig and Rory Kinnear film Spectre in London
film
Life and Style
The finale at Dolce and Gabbana autumn/winter 2015
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?