Today’s social media landscape is dominated by a handful of players. Twitter owns micro-blogging, LinkedIn is the enterprise giant and Facebook has a lock on interpersonal sharing. Facebook’s rise came at the expense of Myspace, which began as a wildly popular social hub that never really figured out its core purpose. Its lack of direction was ultimately its undoing, as other services swooped in to pick apart its empire. Once the cool kid on the block, it’s been relegated to has-been status. Still, there’s a chance that Myspace could rise from the ashes.
Anatomy of a Breakdown
At one time, Myspace was a way for local bands to gain wider exposure and even become household names in some cases, as was the case with Arctic Monkeys. If you’re old enough to remember, this was Myspace’s true purpose at the outset. They eventually became an $800 million dollar a year company. How did they fail? Let’s count the ways. First off, they failed to invest key resources into staying on top. More importantly, they never figured out a way to adequately monetize their popularity and sold out to News Corp. at an inopportune juncture.
During their much-publicized decline, Myspace made every wrong move in the book and was eventually sold by News Corp. to Specific Media in June of 2011. Now, they’re focusing on rebuilding their business as a music and media powerhouse. It’s too bad that last.fm, Spotify and Pandora have eaten their lunch since then. Despite this, there aren’t that many ways for artists to go about building a brand socially online. There are plenty of people that think Myspace can step in and fill this gaping void. None other than co-owner Justin Timberlake believes Myspace can do it.
Changes and a New Focus
The new management at Myspace knows that they have to hit out of the park to right the ship. That’s why they’re taking the relaunch of the platform so seriously. The teaser trailer for the new Myspace emphasizes the star power of the new owner and suggests a full revamp of the UI, as well as plenty of new features and music enjoyment capabilities. Myspace is remaining mum on what exactly the refresh will entail, but they’ve made sure to stress that a focus on the mobile sphere is part of the overall package.
Will It Work?
With the right marketing, Myspace is quite capable of achieving its former glory. What sunk them in the first place was a lack of direction. With Timberlake and Specific Media at the helm, they now have that direction. With so much of our media needs being met by the web these days, a social-heavy portal where music is the priority and networking is second place makes sense. Myspace still sees unique monthly views in the 25 million range, which is impressive. Considering their recent history, they’ve got nowhere to go but up.
Lessons to be Learned
Whether or not Myspace succeeds, there’s something to be learned from its fall and potential return to prominence. The first lesson is that web traffic volume alone isn’t enough to ensure success. The second lesson is to always keep an eye on the competition and adapt to changing business climates. And the third lesson is to never forget your roots and your focus. Myspace ultimately learned these lessons the hard way. The most important lesson, of course, is that it’s easier to gain a customer than to win one back.