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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Necromancy Of Myspace - Doomed Or Divine?

You'd have been forgiven for thinking it was 2004 all over again this week as 'Myspace' was again the social network on everyone's lips after the troubled site dropped a rather gorgeous video ahead of a planned re-re-(re?!)launch in the near future.

The new Myspace from Myspace on Vimeo.

The question is, of course, does anyone still care? The answer? Well, if early buzz is anything to go by then... perhaps!

It seems that Myspace is targeting, almost wholly, the interface between social and creative, music in particular, while pitching its aesthetic somewhere between Pinterest and Microsoft's recent Metro designs. With the ability to link playlists with photo albums and see who your power listeners are, alongside increased Facebook and Twitter functionality, it will sit alongside your existing social platforms rather than attempting to userp them wholly. It aims once again to become the king of music discovery platforms.

The most impressive part of the video is when the user, logged in as Justin Timberlake, searches his top listeners to see who is listening to his songs and then messages them directly saying 'hey guys, here's some behind the scenes pictures'. An undeniably cool feature if implemented as shown.

Is there room for it, however? Will people actually remain beyond the initial rush to sign-up and try it out. IT will stand or fall on whether lots of people are using it. The user-experience will, of course, be key and the aforementioned video makes it look as if it will be a pleasure to navigate and spend time on. You'd hope so. Retention will be the key though. Will it be useful? What will make it stand apart from existing tools?

Twitter, used cannily, is almost unmatched as a music-discovery platform but to get the most out of it requires an idea of how to use it and the effort of getting a network going. Facebook's musical versatility has always been a somewhat tortuous affair with third-party apps providing various degrees of usefulness; it's never been an integrated experience. Last.fm bears a mention, of course, as it provides a lot of the discovery data functionality but it is functional rather than beautiful and has never possessed the mass user-base that makes truly social sharing viable.

So, yes, there may well be a place for Myspace to slink into between the massed ranks of social sites that still, even now, seem to increase every day. Though its industry can't work out what the hell it is doing, music still drives life, love and chatter like no other and if Myspace can create a beautiful, functional and above all USEFUL site that pulls together the disparate online strands once more then the future *might* be rosy once more.

Myspace's best asset is the years of internet real estate that it built up as the number 1 site on the net. It still regularly tops google searches for bands and, as such, still has its uses; priceless interms of getting a head start but it will need to capitalise this.

Though its name is certainly tarnished from the long years of neglect and ridicule, Myspace is still a name that still carries weight. Its once mighty use-base might be a fraction of what it was but make no mistake, people will want to see what the fuss is about... the question is, will returning users still be able to remember the passwords from their long-neglected teenage accounts?!

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