Myspace is expected to re-launch this year as a social media platform for music artists and their fans. Most observers have lost track of how many times the much-derided social network has been re-invented.
People can join the beta version on an “invitation-only” basis. I’ve put in for a new account, but the velvet ropes have not yet been pulled back for me.
The limited release has garnered both praise and skepticism. On the positive side, Chad Martin at VML, a marketing agency, calls the new site a “game changer”. He sees it as an intersection of community, service and commerce in the music vertical.
On the other side, Adrianne Jeffries writes “Why we love to hate Myspace”, a post that appeared on The Verge last week. Although it’s not clear why people love to hate Myspace, Jeffries struggles to see what the new version offers:
“From here, the new Myspace looks like a tough sell because it’s kind of a Monet: pretty at first glance, but get up close and it dissolves into a jumble.”
I’m not quite sure about the analogy. Last I checked, Monet’s works of art were still in demand.
Although music is a pretty big vertical, the reality is that verticals can work. Craft sites like Etsy bring together an analogous mix of community, service and commerce. A revamped Myspace could fill in where the dominant digital music platform, iTunes, fails badly.
Jeffries’ objections seem substantial enough, but the site is in beta. Maybe the new owners will take the criticisms to heart.
The coverage at The Verge might have been improved if they’d focused on what could work, while still offering a perspective on what didn’t. After all, it’s a site built to cover “the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture”. The new Myspace could have parts of all of those things.