So MySpace has been sold again, for a fraction of the $580 News Corp paid for the site in 2005. It’s hardly surprising that the value has plummeted so much, in fact it was a bigger mystery as to why they bothered investing in the first place.
MySpace was at one point the biggest social networking site. In fact, in August 2005 MySpace had 21.8 million unique monthly US visitors compared with Facebook’s 8.3 million according to comScore. However, even then it was clear that it was a site in decline, with users flocking to Facebook attracted by its simplicity – in particular the upload and tagging of photos.
So what went wrong?
MySpace was never the prettiest thing to use, the fact that you could personalise the pages so much meant that many took ages to load and could often crash browsers trying to display all the montages, backing music and images. It developed a reputation for being full of emo-kids in miserable looking photos rather than the place to keep in touch with friends. Facebook on the other hand offered people a much easier way to browse pages, upload photos and follow what your friends are up to. Put simply, MySpace hasn’t changed a lot since 2005.
So is that it for MySpace?
MySpace has still got an incredible unique selling point over Facebook – music. How many of your friends are still active MySpace users? But how many still view bands’ pages on it? Facebook has of course developed fan pages for bands but compared to their MySpace equivalents they’re pretty basic and uninspiring.
The Kings Of Leon pages are great examples, while they’ve got a big following on Facebook it’s their MySpace page where all the interesting content lives. For small bands and artists MySpace offers them a cheap and easy way to host tracks, videos and gig listings without developing a separate site and making it look nice. It’s still rare to go to a small gig nowadays and not be directed to a MySpace page.
The challenge for new owners Specific Media is to make the most of this and really embrace it. This would mean accepting that they’re no longer a mainstream social network, but at the same time it’s a big gap that Facebook currently seems content to let them have. It would be sad to see MySpace die out completely, not because I miss my personal page on there, but for all the fantastic music and content that relies on the site to reach fans.