Who remembers MySpace? Often stylized as “Mys_____” If you don’t, well you are probably REALLY young or just starting to get into Social Media. Before the existence of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and almost every other Social Media site, MySpace was king! It was the first Facebook, so to speak. The original social media site was launched in August 2003, and hit its peak during the years of 2005-2008. Anyone who was anyone was on MySpace. We had our “top friends” placed on our home page. Competed with each other with who could get more friends, and always tried to befriend some celebrity. It was also a great place to check out music. Many up and coming bands started their career with MySpace. MySpace even had a record label. Then Facebook came along, and took over. To best put it, Facebook was a much more improved and efficient version of MySpace. Plus, there was way less junk cluttering the platform, as was seen with MySpace for the last couple years of its successful run. MySpace reached a point where it could not handle so many users, and there was just a tremendous amount of nonsense and spamming on the platform. Many users jumped ship and started to use Facebook as its Social media platform of choice. Since then, MySpace has tried various attempts at becoming a prominent platform, and hopefully trying to reclaim some of its former glory. In June of 2011, pop superstar Justin Timberlake and Specific Media Group purchased MySpace for around $35 million, with the goal to rebuild a new and improved MySpace that could compete in today’s social media marketplace. Especially in the world of Social Media platforms geared toward music. In September 2012, a new redesign of the MySpace platform was announced, with a launch date scheduled for early to mid 2013. By June of this year (2013), MySpace was ranked 303 by total worldwide web traffic, and in the US it was ranked 223. This was a tremendous decline from the platforms’ peak in 2005 through early 2008 when MySpace was the most visited social networking site in the world. It had even surpassed Google in June 2006 as the most visited site in the US. How has the new launch been? Has MySpace been able to reclaim its old standing as the top social media site? Can they make a comeback?
Covered in this recent article from Billboard Biz, the official new launch of the new, improved, and revamped MySpace was on June 12th, 2013. It attracted over 31 million visitors and 995,000 downloads in its first 124 days. Specifically in the first week, MySpace had 450,000 app downloads and 16 million visitors. Insiders say this suggests that MySpace has been able to maintain a consistent level of user interest in the week after it’s initial launch, which is a very positive note.
MySpace also launched a redesigned mobile app. But, the competition in this area is very stiff. It’s iOS app ranked #147 yesterday (Thursday) on the list of free apps for the iPhone. To put this in perspective, Shazam (which is a music ID app) was ranked #72, Slacker Radio was ranked #76, and music site Soundcloud was ranked #103. In addition, MySpace clocked in on iTunes as the 18th most popular Social Networking app. It currently ranks right behind Google+.
MySpace views these early numbers as concrete proof that their new, revamped platform is attracting the hot primary millennial (users born in the years from 1980 – early 2000’s. Also known as “Generation Y.”) Demographic. Like most music based social media platforms, the Generation Y demographics are the main focus.
MySpace has put everything they could behind this launch to ensure that they could succeed. They implemented a $20 million advertising campaign, with commercials on broadcast and cable television. The ad campaign was geared toward a younger audience, with an emphasis on music, youth, creativity, and sharing. One of the main TV ads being played is one with mega producer and rap artist Pharrell (producer of artists like Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, and of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D. fame), musician and actress Sky Ferreira, and music from FIDLAR. They are really focusing and not marketing to the everyday person. I doubt they are interested in reaching dads who want to reconnect with old high school pals, or soccer moms gossiping with one another. Check out the commercial here:
But with all the great things happening in the last 2 weeks, and the buzz surrounding its relaunch, MySpace cannot avoid controversy. CEO Charles Caldas of Merlin, which is an organization that works on maintaining and ensuring the rights of indie artists, said in an article here on VentureBeat, “the company is playing music from many independent labels without permission.” MySpace responded by saying that “many of the artists represented by Merlin have been licensed by other distributors. ”
What do you think? Will you ever give MySpace a second chance? Are they doomed to always have the stigma of their past failures? Whatever anyone thinks, MySpace has played an important role in the world of social media. They were one of the first trailblazers, and really the first successful one, who exploited a concept that has now become part of our daily lives. A company that was so innovative at one point, coming back with a new and improved version of what they used to have is kind of exciting to me. They changed the world one-time already…wonder what they got up their sleeves next??