When was the last time you checked you’re MySpace page? If it’s been a while, and for most people who jumped on the Facebook bandwagon (read: everyone), it’s been a good long while, you may be surprised to find that your account no longer exists. Of course, this won’t likely trouble too many people, most of whom have long since given up the first major social networking site in favor of newer, better models of online and mobile interaction. But while MySpace in its original form has gone the way of the dodo, the brand hasn’t quite had its swan song yet. And with new owners and an entirely new direction thanks to music heavyweight Justin Timberlake, one-time fans of the site may find a new reason to start frequenting their old stomping grounds on the worldwide web.
Timberlake is apparently the creative mastermind behind the new and improved version of MySpace, which is already offering memberships to interested parties. The site, which was bought by News Corp. back in 2005 for $580 million, sold for the bargain basement price of just $35 million last year to Orange County ad company Specific Media. And a surprising addition to the stakeholders in the online property is Justin Timberlake. Many will remember that he had a role in the movie ‘The Social Network’, where his character helped to bring Facebook to the masses. But apparently he’s a MySpace guy at heart, because he has a revolutionary idea about how to turn the site into a household name once again.
His plan revolves not around overhauling the site to compete with Facebook, but rather turning it into an entirely different piece of real estate. The goal, according to Timberlake, is to create a space that brings artists and fans together. In his estimation, “Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment.” In other words, it isn’t a one-way road. While plenty of fans will no doubt flock to pages created by their favorite artists, it seems that Timberlake feels this is an essential source of inspiration for the artists themselves, as well. So while consumers will definitely enjoy access to free music offered only on MySpace, Timberlake posits that artists seeking a community of followers, or simply hoping to “bridge the gap” with their fans will enjoy the platform provided by the new MySpace, which has been completely reworked for that purpose, from the code up.
The idea actually sprang from the fact that many undiscovered artists were still using MySpace, even after the mass exodus to Facebook. In fact, a survey conducted in 2011 showed that a whopping 60% of users still on MySpace (pre-transition) were either artists seeking fans or music lovers looking for the next best band. It was from this realization that Timberlake’s idea matured, and the result is a totally new take on MySpace. Of course, there is likely some concern about the stigma attached to the name, but considering that top names from the music charts have already created profiles (Rihanna, Madonna, and Kanye West, amongst others), likely due to Timberlake’s industry cred, this sleek redesign is sure to draw in plenty of new followers, some of whom may be young enough that they never even heard of the previous MySpace.