Remember when MySpace killed Friendster? Well — Friendster didn’t technically die. It simply reinvented itself as a social gaming site. And while it may have faded into obscurity here in the United States, Friendster has attracted more than half a million new users since its format change in June of 2011, with a 50% increase in active daily users. Why haven’t you heard about it? Well, more than 90% of these new users hail from Asia.
And if you thought Facebook killed MySpace, you’re wrong. Like Friendster, the social networking site is merely shifting its focus in another direction and leveraging what it does best: music. The paradigm shift began with a change of ownership in June of last year (including musician and The Social Network star Justin Timberlake), followed by a new music player which was unveiled in December.
Bowing out of the old social media enclave has put MySpace in direct competition with another wildly popular music destination, Spotify. Although new to the category, MySpace has an advantage: licensing deals with thousands of record labels and a music library of 42 million tracks (that’s nearly three times larger than Spotify). Unsigned music acts also use MySpace to share new music and gain exposure.
By changing its tune, MySpace appears to have found new life. Since the new music player was launched, MySpace claims to have added one million new users, with 40,000 users signing up each day. In addition, MySpace recently announced a partnership with Panasonic to create MySpace TV, which will allow users to share and comment on music videos and television shows.
While it will inevitably still be the home of many high-angle, poorly-lit cell phone self-portraits, the new MySpace features a cleaner, more sophisticated look. And in the ultimate gesture of maturity, MySpace appears to know how to share. In fact, MySpace users are asked to make their music social by sharing it on Facebook. Sharing MySpace music on Facebook? Maybe there is hope for world peace after all.
What do you think of the new MySpace? Is it music to your ears, or will it be the site’s swan song?