There's a lot of excitement about the supposed one million new users since December MySpace is trumpeting.
So, is it on the way back?
First, these "million new users" are actually new account registrations, mainly driven through people signing up through Facebook. It's plausible some (most? all?) are actually people with existing, lapsed accounts for whom creating a fresh MySpace log-in is preferable to trying to remember old passwords.
Second, they're signing up to use the music player via Facebook. That doesn't mean they're not engaging with MySpace, but the product they're using is something different from the old MySpace. Not a problem for the new owners, but 'new service signs up users' isn't quite the same as the 'MySpace comes back' angle we're being fed.
Third: 'registered new users' is an interesting choice of metric. Not even the number of users, or active users: people could still be flowing away, or launching a new account, using it once and moving on.
Finally, a lot of users could be a problem rather than a blessing. If people engage with that free-to-user, expensive-to-company music through a box on a page around which Facebook are selling highly targeted adverts, there's going to be a problem making ends meet.
Still, that's all for the future: for now, something with the same name as a defunct social network finally has a positive figure to announce. Let's hit the Like button. Did MySpace have a Like button?
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
There's a lot of excitement about the supposed one million new users since December MySpace is trumpeting.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Michael Jones was in charge of MySpace during its last days as part of the Murdoch empire - you'll recall, he was the man who tried to turn it from being a hollaback horrorshow into a music destination.
He's now admitted that he was flogging a hippo carcass:
A year ago, we executed one of the most significant relaunches of a historical Internet brand. We repositioned Myspace as a social entertainment destination and introduced an entirely new technology platform, new products and refreshed content. However, the new Myspace didn't gain as much traction with consumers as we had hoped.The reasons for this? He's quite upfront about it. He had a toxic brand:
We chose to keep the Myspace brand. This was a mistake. We found that regardless of how much we improved the product or the marketing message –– consumers' memories about the brand were too strong to allow them to view Myspace with fresh eyes and an open mind. We could not escape their images of animated GIFs.Perhaps if your team focused your efforts on promoting your message rather than leaving arsey comments on blogs which suggested your offering was weak, you might have done better.
It could be argued that with more time and more marketing dollars, we might have been able to change users' perceptions of Myspace.
But then... the offering was weak, too:
Myspace Music has always had a strong brand affiliation with entertainment. Its popular Secret Shows franchise -- a series of free concerts with top artists exclusively for Myspace users -- helped to create an incredible bridge between online and offline experiences and established a certain brand tone in consumers' minds. With the relaunch, we sought to capture the essence of Myspace Music and expand it to other entertainment categories on the site.I think Michael's wrong here; what he really discovered was that even the shittiest stick will be grabbed if there's enough spangles on off; people came away from MySpace gigs thinking they were great despite, not because of, MySpace's involvement.
However, where Myspace came up short was on utility -- that is, we didn't have a product that compelled users to come to the site every day, something that had true-long lasting utility for consumers.That's right. People tend to only listen to music once or twice a week.
No, really: if you believe you're the place to go for music, then most people will be popping by whenever they fancy a tune. You had utility; it's just there were better offerings elsewhere that weren't quite so MySpacey.
Mike then indulges in a spot of "boo-hoo, people didn't realise how great we were" sobbing:
As of August 2010, Myspace was interacting with over 100 million users a month, generating billions of page views and streaming hundreds of millions of songs. Yet, despite these incredible metrics, the market value for Myspace was far below the value placed on many other smaller, yet similar, businesses.I don't want to sound like that woman off the show which tried to sell unsellable houses but a business is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Your business isn't a billion dollar business if people will only pay a million for it. Values of businesses are all made-up anyway. Yours was just made-up in the wrong way.
Jones seems convinced that a few changes - along with more time to overcome the "entrenched" problems of the existing MySpace staff and the "single point of failure" of having one URL - that there was something at the heart of MySpace which had value. Its new owners seem to also be struggling to find any such point.
Friday, June 24, 2011
You know who else is following the herd narrative on MySpace? The people who created MySpace. Bloomberg Business Week kicks the corpse:
"After we left, the guys that took over were never Myspace users," says [Former MySpace CEO Chris] DeWolfe, who now runs a startup called MindJolt. "They didn't have it in their DNA."It's noteworthy that DeWolfe implies that there's still a way that MySpace music could solve the site's problems. It's equally noteworthy that DeWolfe might be involved with the bid to take MySpace off Rupert's hands.
DeWolfe still has a Myspace page, but he doesn't check it much. When he does, he says, he cringes. "I'm a little disappointed in the music product, given that we spent so much time and effort to get more music licenses than anyone in the world. I haven't seen Myspace Music evolve how it should have."
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Courtney Holt, who was president of MySpace Music, has decided to follow the herd and has stepped down from the role. He's not being replaced, either, with MySpace CEO Mike Jones taking responsibility for Music, too, which pretty much looks like a "keeping it going until someone takes it over or kills it off" position.
MySpace Music still does pretty good numbers in terms of visitors in the US, but hasn't been able to turn the ears into anything saleable; to add insult to injury, half-assed YouTube spin-off Vevo now outstrips it for visitors.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The description of MySpace's soon-coming overhaul as "a last throw of the dice" is unfair - there will be more, more desperate scrambling dice-hurling to come.
But look, this is what they're doing:
It's not the first time MySpace has trumpeted that it's going to become an entertainment destination - I think that was the strategy at the overhaul-before-last, wasn't it? If it had taken, I suspect they wouldn't be needing to reintroduce the concept all over again.
The circus has moved on; the audience are on Facebook. MySpace will continue to be used as a great way of subsidising the cost of storage for bands and record labels, for as long as it chooses to do so. But its hopes of owning music? Gone, Mr Murdoch. Gone.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
MySpace has, effectively, switched off Imeem and slapped in a redirect to MySpace music. Which is why they bought it, fair enough, but does raise the question about what's going to happen to people who were using Imeem as an audio equivalent of YouTube?
Does the MySpace FAQ help?
MySpace Music acquired certain assets of imeem, and will spend the next few weeks properly integrating aspects of the site within the MySpace Music community. Features and functionality that you loved at imeem will soon find their way onto MySpace, and compliment our existing platform alongside free full-song streaming, artist profiles, music videos, and much, much more.
But what about audio you might have uploaded yourself? That seems to have just vanished. Not music, not the glitzy stuff, but you can't help feeling its a bit like buying AudioBoo and deciding you're only going to keep any animal noises that might be there.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
After all this waiting, and despite the clear indications from HQ that they can't afford the free streaming at the heart of the service much longer, MySpace Music has launched its UK variant.
The slogan sounds oddly familiar:
MySpace Music has launched in Britain with a "Get Real Close" campaign
Get Real Close? Is that closer than you'd get with HMV's Get Closer campaign, or is it not quite as close?
The idea of launching the UK site now is, erm, perfectly clear:
"This is indicative of the direction we want to go," said Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music.
"We want to be a social content and media platform and we believe heavily in the socialization of content as core to our future strategy," he told Reuters in London.
"It's not about just a passive listening experience. We want you to be active, we want you to go places, we want you to search for music. Music lives in places that require you to work to find it. We know our audience is hungry for discovery."
Righto, so you're suggesting you're the perfect platform to aggregate music that you have to search for elsewhere? That makes sense.
Clearly, the hope is that other companies will do some of the expensive work of streaming, but that does raise the question of what, exactly, MSMUk sees their role as.
"We're a large and live media platform for the social sharing and consumption of music, and we're also bolting on great business opportunities -- ticketing, touring events, merchandise, downloads," Holt said.
But you've just said that you expect your audience to be off, working hard to discover music elsewhere. If I was a music business, wouldn't I want to be going into partnership with the sites where people will be listening to music for minutes at a stretch? Isn't it better to have advertising at the finish post rather than at the start?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Increasingly, Rupert Murdoch's purchase of MySpace looks like a kneejerk move that confused the panic with the strategic.
Clearly, he's managed to bring this management style to MySpace, whose purchase of MySpace looks exactly the same.
As takeovers go, it has all the thought and care of that box of Milk Tray
y Way grabbed from a Wild Bean Cafe shelf moments before midnight on Valentine's Day.
Admittedly, MySpace are getting something dirt cheap - the most generous estimates are putting the price tag at nine million; shrewder heads suggest it might have been scooped up for a million dollars. The company has spent more than twenty million to get to this point.
On the other hand, MySpace is already seeing its bottom line assailed by the costs of offering streaming music - does it really need to pick up more of those costs? Especially since Imeem was undermined by high royalty demands from labels - exactly the same problem MySpace is struggling with.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Who wouldn't want to kick off the week with a burst of new Tegan And Sara stuff? This is the official video for Hell, the new single:
[You can now buy the new album Sainthood, or download it if you'd rather.]
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Having seen Facebook steal most of the time-sinking behaviour for which it was once famous, MySpace has now decided to concentrate on the one area where it is still doing fairly well: Music and entertainment:
Mr Van Natta wants to capitalise on MySpace’s status as a leading online music destination and used a presentation at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday to unveil new features that enhance its music credentials.
The company has struck a deal with Apple’s iTunes store to allow its users to buy tracks without having to leave the MySpace site. It has integrated iLike, a music application company, and launched Dashboard, an interactive tool for bands and musicians, as well as compiling the largest catalogue of music videos on the web.
Mr Van Natta said the applications were a “springboard” for the revamped MySpace and would be followed by other new features in the coming months that tap into the site’s large online community.
Hosting music is pretty expensive, and it has to be questionable how long bands will flock to use MySpace if the audience is heading off elsewhere. Still, at least it's a strategy, and it's felt like a long time since MySpace had one of those.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
While MySpace has been drumming up the cash to buy iLike, how are things going at the last brilliant idea to put MySpace at the heart of social music?
That would be MySpace Music. You remember MySpace Music, don't you?
It's doing well. Kind of. It's certainly bringing a lot of traffic to the site, which is a bit of a problem, as they're attracting greedy ears and not open wallets, and so to cut losses, they're switching off autoplay:
But all that popularity comes at a price - billions of free streaming songs are costing MySpace up to $10 million a month in streaming fees, says a source, and the joint venture may lose $20 million or more this year.
So autostreaming is now off in a bid to try and stop some of the bandwidth costs sucking the money out the service.
Although 'making visitors hit a play button' doesn't quite sound convincing as a business plan to turn the fortunes of the site around.
Sometime while Location Location Location was on, it was confirmed that MySpace had struck a deal to buy iLike.
Now, ultimately this makes iLike part of Rupert Murdoch's empire - which is interesting in itself, because while Rupert believes that newspapers online will have to charge or fade away, another part of his empire is investing heavily in a property which doesn't have charging its users as part of its business plan. Not much clarity of vision as to the future of the web over at News Corp, is there?
What's equally interesting: this is MySpace that has bought iLike. Not MySpace Music - you'd cautiously suggest this as a sign that the team in charge at MySpace are starting to think their current music spin-off isn't working.
What's also equally interesting is that iLike is strongest not on MySpace, but on Facebook. It'll be interesting to see how thrilled Facebook will be with one of their more popular apps falling into the hands of their rivals.
Benrard Sumner's new outfit Bad Lieutenant are offering a sample of their wares over on the MySpace right now. Recalibrate your expectations before clicking: it's not New New Order. It's not even Modern Electronic.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
During the easter track smackdown thingy, I was asked why MySpace Music wasn't one of the services. The short answer would have been that, with MySpace Music UK yet to launch, it didn't seem fair to test them.
But that does raise a question: Where is MySpace's UK version of its much touted save-the-house Music service?
Still very much in the future, apparently:
Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music, distanced himself from steps which had been taken before his arrival in January but admitted the social network may have jumped the gun and approached partners too early.
"I'm working on trying to make sense of a business that existed as a bunch of features," he said. "So we went silent while we brought in the right people. Perhaps we launched the business before we had the key stakeholders in place internally."
You launched before having internal people in place? Wow. That's quite a surprising approach.
Could you perhaps offer up some more gnomic insight, though, Mr Holt:
"Most of the steps on the label side have been dealt with," he said. "We've taken active steps for international expansion. The product side is global so we've done the work for the core offering wherever we go."
What he means it there's a template that they can use. Which, when you're at least a month behind your original schedule, is a quite a weak point to be clinging to - right up there with "well, she hasn't actually yet taken out a court order" in finding cold comfort.
Friday, February 06, 2009
The EconMusic conference was graced today with its keynote speaker, Courtney Holt. Courtney is the CEO of MySpace Music, and the big question on everyone's minds was how, exactly, will MySpace make a profit on its activities?
He's "optimistic" that it will deliver revenue, which surely is a bit less gung-ho than you'd hope for if it was your business he was running. Ooh, yes, I'm sure we'll make revenue. Some day. But:
“I’m being very sober about how we’re going to get there, but my goal is to run a profitable business,” he said.
Well, yes. Since you're not rescuing orphan dolphins or trying to take underprivileged kids to Disneyland, I'd have assumed your goal would have been to make a profit. At some point.
There seems to be some sort of vague hope that, if the advertising market proves a little clunky, MySpace Music might be sitting on a goldmine of data:
Holt also said the site has a data goldmine that brands, artists and the labels all want access to: “We know whether someone has friended an artist, whether they listened to them on the band page, or their friend’s page, whether their friends are listening—and artists that engage will get access to that data.” He added that MySpace Music would share some of the data with users too, as part of efforts to streamline music search and site navigation.
Hmm. Well, yes, that information is valuable. But if I were someone who wanted to know that sort of information, I might take the view that - since I'm providing MySpace with the content it needs, MySpace might want to share the data with me in return. "Hey, build a page, put your music on it, and we'll sell you details of what tunes your fans listen to" seems to be an offer that is all-too-easy to refuse.
This all becomes more pressing against a backdrop of News International's announcement of over six billion dollars in the last quarter of 2008 and JP Morgan less than impressed with MySpace's overall prospects. It might actually turn out Rupert Murdoch is funding a cyberplayground philanthropically - albeit unwittingly.