The drop in user traffic of Google plus reminds of yet another ill-fated Social Network – Myspace. Many of you wouldn’t even remember such a site exists and it was once the largest social network in the world much like Facebook is now. My first account in a social network was not orkut nor facebook, it was Myspace. Though my network in Myspace never took off, its worth take a look at what is the status of the site now.
Myspace which was started in 2003, was bought by NewsCorp for $580 million in 2005. Between 2005 and 2008 it saw its peak and fall. It reached the fame of America’s most visited site surpassing Google in that period. It was the default online place for people to meet their friends, socialize, consume media, blog etc. Music Artistes started their own pages in Myspace for fans and to share content. And then it started to decline and Facebook took over the crown from Myspace and surpassed it as the largest Social Network. Eventually Myspace was forced into oblivion.
So what happened? Instead of adding features for users to socialize, Myspace morphed itself into more of Music and Media site. The pages were covered with Ads than content, and thanks to Ad agreement it made with Google. More spams, clumsy user interface versus Facebook’s simplicity, no open APIs, lack of developers interest all contributed to the social Networks fall. Eventually News Corp too wanted to get rid of this business. Specific Media along with Justin Timberlake bought Myspace late this summer for $35 million, way less than what News Corp spent for it.
What can Specific Media do that News Corp couldn’t do with Myspace? History shows that Internet Titans once faced with decline had never made a comeback. Netscape, AOL, Yahoo are all examples. Specific Media CEO Tim VanderHook doesn’t think so. In his Interview with Bloomberg he expresses confidence to turn around Myspace. The video is available below.
Though the revamped Myspace is planned to be released later this year, it is clear it plans to build upon its Music and Media assets. It is betting on Justin Timberlake’s brand image to do that. But the Online Music business is getting crowded with Spotify (in partnership with Facebook), Google, Amazon, Apple and atleast another hundred companies trying to provide the user with cloud based music streaming experience.
Can Myspace become the Music Catalog of Internet? That depends on its success to become a platform for Music in partnership with labels,artists and companies like Google/Facebook/Apple instead of a identifying itself as a Social Network or a normal Music site.
Update: Myspace today (02/13) reported that it has added a million new users in December. That is huge considering how fast they were losing users earlier. They attribute the success to the launch of their new music player. Just as we had mentioned in the above post Myspace should continue as Music platform rather than Social site.