As tainted of a brand name MySpace may be right now, the fallen social network plans to make a comeback in late 2012 with a focus on what their core mission should have been all along – connecting musicians with fans.
Specific Media bought MySpace from News Corp. for $35 million, along with partner in the deal Justin Timberlake, and plans to revive MySpace as a go-to place for musicians again. Only this time, they attempt to differentiate themselves not by becoming an alternative to Facebook and others, but to Spotify or BandCamp and other music destinations of the sort.
And it makes some sense. After all, MySpace’s comprehensive music catalog is astronomical at 42 million songs, which is more than twice as large as Spotify’s (although much of this is from long-tail content from relatively unknown artists).
“It’s the world’s largest library of music,” said Specific Media’s Chris Vanderhook to Forbes. “It dwarfs anybody else’s.”
Back when MySpace first came on the scene, musicians were among the first to embrace the budding social network, and also among the last ones to leave when users made the switch to Facebook. This loyalty was primarily due to the fact that the site itself still had plenty of use for musicians, with the main benefits being great search engine optimization, a single place to stream music, and tour date information.
“If you think about the MySpace brand, to the average consumer it was negative, but to the artist community it was positive,” said Tim Vanderhook, Specific Media CEO. “They need MySpace to succeed.”
Artist/actor Justin Timberlake, the important “third leg of the stool” as Tim Vanderhook says, convinced Specific Media that the key to reviving the network was to win back musicians first. Timberlake aims to help MySpace become a platform from which musicians could run their businesses and manage their brands, and the new MySpace aims to do so by allowing music fans to experience artists in every way possible — through music, videos, photos, profiles, social feeds, live events, ticket sales, and more.