Opinion: MySpace will Survive

June 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

June 30, 2011  MySpace has been through lots of ups and downs and it is hard to say exactly how to classify its sale to Specific Media for 35 million. Despite its troubles, I think MySpace has a bright future. Here are the primary reasons and what Specific Media should focus on.

  • MySpace is a Great Music Destination: If you like music and connecting with artists, it is a great site. Artists take care of their pages and provide insight into their lives through MySpace blogs, comments, videos, etc. While MySpace did not start out as a destination for artists it has become one of the better ones due to this.
    • So what:  Specific Media should recognize this as MySpace’s biggest asset. In fact, I think they do. Justin Timberlake will take a role in helping to set direction for the network and puts artist’s perspective into the leadership of MySpace. Going forward, MySpace should use a two-question framework for making decisions: 1) how will this decision help artists, and 2) how will this decision help consumers connect with artists.
  • Traffic is Still Considerable: 30 million people still visit MySpace every month. Unfortunately, the traffic trend has been in a deep spiral over the last several years. Yet, 30 million is sizable and to put it in perspective it still ranks ahead of Pandora and LinkedIn (according to Compete data – see here for graph).
    • So What: Specific Media needs to find what is keeping people coming back and do anything and everything to keep them. They should work with the broader music community (artists, promoters, bloggers, journalists, etc) and focus on features, partnerships, and relationships that help people consume music. Call me crazy, but make a nod to the people News Corp burned and restore everyone’s iMeem playlists. Work with all of the great music bloggers and create value for the music community.
  • The Platform is in Good Shape:  Today, MySpace is much easier to navigate, performs much better, and has enough uniformity in pages to make the site consistent from a browsing perspective. Fixing the platform is not a problem that Specific Media needs to pay attention too, which it can thank News Corp for.
    • So What: Specific Media should take advantage of this and work on creating a strong product roadmap first.  Also, learn a lesson from Facebook and make sure that the technology can scale. Don’t let performance be an issue again and don’t follow the trajectory that MySpace is on today.
  • Dead Weight is Being Lifted. According to rumors, Specific Media will cut the staff in half.
    • So What:  Specific Media should use this time to install a team that will focus on the brand, bringing good advertisers to the site (please no more sleezy ads), and creating the right partnerships. While MySpace will continue to be a social network, it should run as a music service with social networking features. Restaff according to this.

I sincerely hope to see MySpace thrive. It has a rich history and has played an important role in shaping social networks and social media as we know it today. If it can find a way to create value for artists and music fans than it can hopefully find a way to profitably operate within the music ecosystem.

Good luck to MySpace and, as usual, all thoughts and opinions are welcome.


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§ 2 Responses to Opinion: MySpace will Survive

  • YP says:

    Interesting viewpoint. Do you think with the drastic reduction in staff and the enormous amount of hacks that were probably done to keep MySpace up and running the past few years, that they can still scale appropriately with your suggestions?

    I do like the idea of focusing on music as that was their bread and butter in their heyday. I have to think they need one hell of a branding team to recover from the negative image that MySpace has these days. Just looking down my Facebook feed and seeing random comments of “MySpace who??” and “they paid 35 million too much” makes me think they will go the way of Friendster as another piece in the timeline of social media history.

    • YP. Thanks for the comments.

      It is hard to say, but I think they must have addressed the underlying platform in their last design. The pages are streamlined and the site performs much better. That being said I do think they have are starting from a better technology position than they were in a couple of years ago.

      And yes, focusing on music will be what differentiates them. As they call it social entertainment. I also think you are very right in that they are facing an uphill battle, but I do think it is one they can recover from by making the right moves and courting the right audiences. 35 million is a steal for Specific Media, but if they don’t turn it around then yes…just about any price will have been too much.

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