We've known for some time that a new Myspace focused on music artists was coming, and the official version of what may be known as Myspace 2.0 is now officially out of beta. Two questions pop up immediately, however:
The new site in no way tries to hearken back to the old days when it was the most popular social network. It does, however, aim to make music streaming much more social. Not only can users create their own playlists and mixes, they can also share those mixes with friends and even create animated GIFs on the website.
But the service is entering into a crowded market occupied by not only big names like Spotify and Pandora, but many others. That market soon will become even more crowded as Google introduces its Google Play Music All Access and Apple just announced its iTunes Radio internet radio service.
But like almost any other new (or reinvented) internet properties, there are many factors that will determine success, many of which are fairly abstract. One of the biggest ones Myspace faces is whether its famous name will hinder or help its new product.
The platform relies on the 50 million songs Myspace says it has in its catalog, which is the largest of any other streaming service. However, that number may be a little deceiving because many of those songs are user uploads, meaning that many of the songs are likely uploaded by unknown artists. More importantly, some of those songs may be copyrighted material uploaded by users. Myspace already has been facing licensing issues because of this, and it will be interesting to see if the company will escape further scrutiny.
My Space’s new owners, which include Justin Timberlake, obviously went to great lengths to distance the look of the new Myspace from the old days when users were able to customize pages to nearly any gaudy degree they desired. And while the new service certainly looks good, the user experience may prove to be a bit cumbersome.
The service seems as if it may be relying a bit too much on the look of the new service rather than ease of use for the user. This could prove a turnoff for many, particularly considering the straightforward user experiences that have made Spotify, Pandora, Songza and other platforms so popular.
But certainly this all will remain to be seen. As will how independent artists may be able to leverage all of those aforementioned user features to create a social network based around their music. While Facebook has been and remains good for promotion, it has never lent itself to being a place artists could easily share their music. Other networks like SoundCloud have proven popular for what they do, and while they are social, they haven’t become a major player in a full-on social networking way.
Maybe the new Myspace will step up to the plate in this capacity.