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.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before