Bringing sexy back? Myspace is released in beta
When the new Myspace preview was unleashed back in September, it ignited a hot email debate here at Branded3, with seemingly everyone having a strong opinion on the probability of its future in 2012’s social media world.
Most agreed that the new design by owners Specific Media, was faultless – clean, fresh, and slick – but beneath the exterior, does it actually offer any new social features that could entice users away from Facebook and Twitter?
Well, the time has come to find out; Myspace has been released in beta, and whilst its team are keen to stress that more new features will be added prior to its official launch next year, its current state is enough to have a poke around and get a feel for what’s to come.
Our talented web designer Max Shearer, was the first in the office to secure a new Myspace invite, and alongside the lucky five he chose to extend the invite to, he told us what his initial thoughts were after a play around:
It definitely looks very pretty, and seems to function as smoothly as advertised in the preview video. I like how they’ve managed (at least to a certain extent) to stay away from making ‘another Facebook’ and focus on creating a proper* music social network. So good work there.
There are a few issues with the player that I’ve noticed, most notably it playing a completely different song to the one I’d selected. Most of these issues though, will almost certainly just be teething problems and ironed out in the next few weeks. I also think the artist/album/track search results look to be a bit unorganised, an issue that has plagued Grooveshark in the past yet something that Spotify has almost always managed to get spot on.
* People might disagree with my use of the word ‘proper’ here, but hear me out. I see the main competitors to the new Myspace being Spotify, Grooveshark, BandCamp and SoundCloud. I don’t see any of these four as a particularly complete social network though. Spotify and Grooveshark have the best selection of signed music, and BandCamp and SoundCloud seem to have stolen most of the unsigned artists from the old Myspace. These four all tie in with other social networks with varying degrees of success, but I think if Myspace can win back their unsigned users, and integrate well with the likes of Facebook and Twitter etc., they might be on to a winner.
n.b. These are my thoughts after no more than twenty minutes of playing with it though. I may make a complete rebuttal to most of these points when I’ve had time to use it more. Stay tuned.
The new Myspace is undoubtedly music focused, it’s like having an online music player social account. You can create your own playlists / mixes for your own personal use and share these with your friends which is pretty cool.
I hate to admit it, but I really like it. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t have given it a new name to prevent old users being put off by what it eventually became years ago.
Facebook is going to struggle competing against Myspace now as it has all of the elements of every social networking site, such as the music element of SoundCloud, the interactivity of Facebook, the simplicity of Twitter, some aspects of the box layout from Pinterest, all mixed with a completely new look that gives it the edge over all of them.
I don’t like it as I don’t see a place for it; I use Facebook for keeping in contact with friends and keeping track of events, and Twitter for work and personal use.
I used to visit MySpace for music, but the band pages are now used for linking out to more useful sites like the band’s website (containing the same information) or Facebook page. There’s no information on there that can’t be found on the artist’s Facebook page, and the music can easily be found on YouTube (with video) or in some cases Bandcamp (in better quality, with full streaming albums and an option to download).
MySpace was great when it was the simplest way to reach a large audience with music for free, but now bands have better websites/Tumblr accounts/Bandcamp sites there’s no reason for it to exist, and the stigma attached to being a “MySpace band” means that they will have difficulty attracting new bands in the way they once did.
When it comes to the user interface, I think it’s fairly smooth and clean. The horizontal scrolling for example, is more resembling of an actual historical timeline in my opinion, as opposed to the vertical timelines used by many of their competitors.
The search feature is probably one of the more interesting and user-friendly features as you can start typing from any page and it begins a search.
Obviously, it seems extremely niche in terms of the brands / users who will be initially interested in the platform, with their spotlight being so intensively focused on musicians and artists. There may be a long term plan in terms of spread into different fields but this may see the new and improved Myspace lose the only apparent USP they have managed to cling on to.
There is a place for the new Myspace, and with music being one of the most shareable types of content there is, it will do well in this respect.
Whether or not it will become a real contender for the big social platforms remains to be seen, but there is a certain retro appeal if nothing else!
It seems like it’s trying to be the new Spotify but without the same volume of music that Spotify has. In theory it is a great idea for a more social music space however I’m not sure that people will make the move from Spotify to new Myspace. I guess one benefit is that it doesn’t have any adverts and is still free.
I do like the fact that you can just start typing and it will search, however I don’t like the size of the search font. Not good when you want to search for a guilty pleasure song in the office!
I don’t really know how I feel about it overall, I don’t think I’ll be making much use of it in my personal life but I’ll probably follow its progress from a professional view, much like Google+.
So there you have it, it seems the B3 jury is still divided. Of course, we have to remember that a day’s play around with it can’t be indicative of how it will fit into the social media schedule of the everyday user.
Whether it falls or flies, there’s no denying that this certainly is a new Myspace with no trace of the cluttered old site, and I’m going to err on the opposite side of cynicism and applaud their effort so far.