There’s no date set, and there’s no telling how successful it will be – but, the new MySpace is not far away.
After spending five years in online purgatory following the collapse of its social media empire, MySpace is ready for a relaunch as we first reported back in May, but has since revealed new details about what can be expected from the redesign with a brand new video teaser last September.
What’s most interesting about this new version of the oh-so stale site is it’s main investor, Justin Timberlake. The jack of all trades is taking time out of his music and acting schedules to embody Mark Zuckerberg in this, his first foray into social media.
But Timberlake isn’t doing it alone, and has instituted his own team to lead the new site, employing Scott Vener as the relaunched social media site’s music editor and curator.
Vener will personally choose featured artists, and has been proactive in recruiting many big names to sign up. Speaking to Wired the music guru spoke of what his job involves: “I get paid to wake up at noon, go to bed at 4 a.m. and listen to music all day.” But it’s not all fun and games, Vener’s new role is also about “helping [to] curate the artists featured in our various music programs and recruiting artists back to the site.”
“Beyond that,” he continues, “as we’re building the new site, my job is to speak on behalf of the unsigned, up-and-coming artists and represent their voice and needs within Myspace.”
Although you may not recognise his name, Vener is the man behind the music featured in the television shows Entourage, How To Make It In America and (the new) 90210.
“Those shows granted me a great opportunity to create a conversation around music on a smaller scale using Twitter and my blog,” says Vener. “The opportunity with Myspace presented itself and it felt organic.”
Vener was asked personally by friend Justin Timberlake to be a part of the new team. “I got a text from Justin: ‘I’m putting together a creative team to help rebuild MySpace and I want you to be a part of it.’ Hard to say no to that.”
Featuring a simple design and an ever-present music player along the bottom pane of the window, the new redesign has a strong emphasis on music and makes it easier for users to create mixes, and find content on the site.
The new MySpace is also clearly gunning to be a key platform for bands and their fans to spread their social media tendrils in a unique way. Rather than directly competing with the Facebook juggernaut, it appears it’s trying to be another link in the internet chain.
Namely, MySpace has a surprisingly large music and video catalogue that has always been available, but could only be found in remote places on the site. A problem which Vener says the rebuild aims to address: “The new site will make it much easier to tap into them.”
Along with the simple interface and unique content, the new MySpace has a feature called Affinity which measures to what degree you will like something, ideal for discovery of new videos or music. The new music editor and curator calls it “a metric… that shows people to what degree they’ll like something, making it easier for people to discover the things they’ll actually enjoy.”
Today, the old MySpace.com still has a music player that pops out on a separate window, and its attempt at encouraging users to find new music is to automatically play a random song it thinks you’ll like, after your chosen playlist has finished.
By the sounds of it, the new site will feature both established and unknown artists, making it a proverbial mix between Spotify and Triple J Unearthed.
“Part of my job,” explains Vener, “is about discovering new music and sharing it with people. I can’t wait to use this platform to identify emerging artists and help fans connect to their music.”
Although there are already countless places for artists to upload their music, to distribute and promote their music, the relaunched MySpace is looking to play a key role as a singular destination for artists to integrate with other social networks, allowing you to sign in with your Facebook account and promote your content on Twitter, all within the one interface.
While the new build of the site is still in beta period, there is no Steve Jobs sized launch planned, with Vener stating: “There won’t be any billboards in Times Square. It will be less of a contrived launch. Think of us as a new band going on the road, doing shows and earning real fans.”
For five years the name MySpace has been synonymous with the punchline of many a tech-geek’s joke. Having been bought by News Corporation in 2005 for $US 580 million, only to be sold last July for roughly $US 35 million. However, the details of the new site – along with the sole video teaser – demonstrates the direction of its focus sounds like good news for music lovers, and may be just what the site needs, to reignite its once dominant status in the social media universe. Only time will tell…
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