In the summer of 2006, pop music star Justin Timberlake told the world of his intentions to bring sexy back. Now Timberlake, more of an actor than a pop star, is looking to bring back a relic of that era: Myspace.
Before you laugh it off, know this: It looks pretty darn snazzy. Behold:
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought the social network in 2005 for $580 million. By 2008, Facebook overtook the platform in traffic as it rose to social dominance. Last June, Timberlake and Specific Media Group bought Myspace for a fraction of what NewsCorp paid at $35 million.
But the revamp, quips Advertising Age
, “is making Facebook look like it was designed by a kid in a college dorm room.” The new Myspace will use horizontal scrolling through your newsfeed with a heavy emphasis on images. Even heavier emphasis will be on music, including playlists, artist news, and interviews.
What always separated Facebook and Myspace were the sites’ differing friendliness when it comes to music. It looks like Myspace is looking to capitalize on its ability to emphasize music.
The question for marketers and PR folks will inevitably be: What does this mean for brands?
Well, if your job in any way involves social media marketing and you haven’t already been thinking about this, you’re behind the curve. MySpace will likely skew younger, engaging a younger demographic first, and therefore brands that target the 18-24 crowd will probably be early adopters.
There’s been no word, however, on whether brands will play a major role in peoples’ newsfeeds or if they’ll be allowed at all. If they’re thinking revenue streams, it’s likely that brands will be welcomed with open arms, eventually.
Here’s the major user benefit that MySpace has: It can be Facebook meets Twitter, meets Pinterest, meets Spotify, meets Tumblr, meets Instagram. It can take the best of the social media landscape today, add TV and Timberlake’s media savvy and see what happens from there. But what it also possesses could be the game changer: no one’s mom or dad or grandma or grandpa is there.
Kids will always migrate to where the parents aren’t. Many teens and tweens have two Facebook accounts. There’s the one their parents know about, and there’s the one their parents have no idea exists. They use their real name for the former, their nickname for the latter—and I’m guessing it can get confusing for their developing minds. MySpace will offer something that doesn’t feel grown-up like Google+ or sullied like Facebook where their parents are wont to “like” their status.
On Sept. 24, Timberlake tweeted
to his nearly 14 million followers a link to the new Myspace
along with the video. Potential users are greeted with the following message and asked to leave their email address:
“We’re hard at work building the new Myspace, entirely from scratch. But we’re staying true to our roots in one important way—empowering people to express themselves however they want. So whether you’re a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we’d love for you to be a part of our brand new community.”
Amid all this praise comes the all-important hedge. Right now, Myspace looks cool—emphasis on looks
. We’ll have to wait to receive our invites before we can say whether the functionality matches the aesthetic. Timberlake’s team has managed to do one thing right so far in mastering the tricky task of creating buzz.