I’ve been saying for longer than I can remember that MySpace was a few things.
First, it’s been the ugliest atrocity of UI on the internet for years, especially before they re-designed it back in July.
Secondly, and more importantly, it is the home of music online. On one hand, I’ve said that was a massive opportunity for competitors…millions of bands looking to promote themselves and gather fan bases were left with a god-awful solution that was hard to customize, leaving plenty of room for an elegant competitor devoted entirely to bands. These upstarts have reared their heads lately, and kick MySpace’s ass in nearly every way except for the 70 million people who visit MySpace every month and the network’s dominance of search results.
On the other hand, I’ve argued forever that MySpace should devote itself entirely to music, and should win that space like no technology or community ever has. Let Facebook have our social lives and focus on music. Revamp the entire platform with the lessons these younger, nimble startups in the music space have taught you and become the primary distribution platform for the world’s music.
I told all of this personally, mind you, to more than one MySpace executive.
If these rumors are true I’d be really, really nervous as a music startup. Aside from the fact that it couldn’t hurt for the new MySpace to make some strategic acquisitions to get their interface right and to extend their reach into indie/pre release markets, a few right moves by a company like MySpace intently focused on music could make it very, very hard to compete.
It started off as a social network — the most popular in the U.S. until Facebook eclipsed it — and then started moving more into the entertainment realm, encompassing everything from television to music to film. Still, what MySpace has always done best has been music.
Search for a band. Any band. What comes up near the top of the search results? Its MySpace page. Despite all the other features and integrations that MySpace has added in the past few years, musicians seem to be the site’s most loyal members.
Consequently, many band folks have been wondering where to go when the music’s over. Facebook has been the obvious destination post-exodus, with services like FanBridge, RootMusic and Songkick helping artists plug into the social media site to reach fans.
Still, since Facebook lacks any native tools for artists (players, etc.), the move isn’t exactly a smooth one; MySpace is still the easiest solution. Furthermore, since Facebook is a massive social network, it’s not as if bands are getting the curated exposure they need to get ahead — unless they’re Jay-Z and Kanye.
Which is why a Vevo/MySpace merger would be so effective.