Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, MySpace has been reborn, and I have taken a plunge into the new world. Under the ownership of a seemingly endlessly talented Justin Timbmerlake, this is a whole new beast.
The first thing you notice about the new MySpace, especially if you had an account on the old MySpace, is that it’s beautiful. It’s very visual, with lots of context-based menuing. Although it was disorienting at first, the side scrolling has quickly grown on me.
It is also very apparent that the site is now focused solely on music. Every piece of the site appears to be wrapped around the idea of listening, sharing, and exploring music. With access to what seems to be a massive collection, you can quickly immerse yourself.
MySpace is not without its issues though. The icon showing who you’re connected to, although simple, looks like a master card logo, and it is not instantly clear how to use it. Also, what do the different states of the icon mean? It’s not always obvious how certain layers of the site are opened and closed. There is also a stark lack of intuitive linking; I find myself trying to click on things that don’t have links, especially in the “Discovery” area.
From a competition standpoint, I wonder what Facebook thinks of MySpace’s re-entry into the social scene. After spending some time with the site, I realized that it isn’t so much Facebook that should be paying attention to this brand resurrection as Spotify, Pandora, and potentially iTunes.
I can easily see teens and 20-somethings taking to a platform like this, especially those who really enjoy exploring and sharing music. The big question, since currently there are no ads or subscription fees, is, “Where will the money come from?” Once MySpace starts generating income, how will that translate into compensation for the artists? And without any obvious features to best the dominant music players in the industry, how will MySpace compete?
Getting to play with the new MySpace has really created more questions for me than have been answered. At the same time, it’s fun to see a great player come out of retirement, and it will be fun to watch MySpace step out onto the field again. Whether or not the company hits it out of the park this time around is another question entirely.