MySpace Hopes Justin Timberlake Will Bring Users Back

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Hey look! MySpace is once again making headlines as it rides the coattails of Justin Timberlake´s fame!

Undergoing its 4th major redesign, MySpace continues to try and compete in a largely three-player industry. Once the top of the charts, MySpace earned its popularity in the early and mid-2000s based on music, helping many small bands gain a larger audience than they could have reached otherwise. In the promotional video announcing the new launch, it appears as if the social networking site wants to keep this part of their heritage alive.

With a clean design and horizontal scrolling, the new MySpace focuses heavily on sharing music and playlists with one another, as well as posting the usual digital detritus: Photos, stories, videos, etc.

In a bit of an ironic move, users will be able to merge their Facebook and Twitter accounts with the new MySpace, bringing over their existing photos and videos to the new “community.”

This is a nice move, of course, allowing these new users (or more likely, new-old users) to hit the ground running so to say, allowing them to immediately begin interacting with the new site, as opposed to spending their first few precious minutes trying to set up their new profile.

“We’re hard at work building the new MySpace, entirely from scratch,” reads the text at the MySpace introductory page, where users can request an invite to either rejoin or take a look at the new refresh.

“But we’re staying true to our roots in one important way – empowering people to express themselves however they want.”

Music will continue to have a strong presence on the site, as users will be able to share mixes, playlists and radio stations. In addition to letting users share their music, the new MySpace will also allow bands the ability to share their music with their fans in a new way. Artists Pages on the newly redesigned site will give artists the chance to show off their latest tracks and albums, as well as recent photographs, music videos and other appearances around the web. In the Timberlake-heavy introductory video (which was announced by Timberlake himself last night, via Twitter), an artist (assumed to be Timberlake) takes a turn through his artist profile, sending messages to his fans as well as showing off the way albums and feeds will look within the pages. Based on the video, it also appears as if artists will be able to take a look at their demographics, such as what percentage of their fans are male or female, where these fans live, and how many of them are talking about their music. It even looks as if artists will be able to send out messages to select groups of fans, as the video shows an artist (again, probably Timberlake) sending out a message made out to “Top Fans.”

Such functionality would be helpful for artists who want to effectively target their audiences rather than sending out blanket messages. For instance, sending out a message about an upcoming show in Denver means little to nothing for fans in Massachusetts. However, being able to send the same message to only those fans in the Colorado area makes the message a powerful one. MySpace was sold to Specific Media in 2011 at a huge loss to 2005 buyers, News Corp. New owners Specific Media, along with creative consultant Timberlake, now aim to make MySpace the place for music and the music community. According to media and music analyst Mark Mulligan, this rebranding is the “deepest” attempted by the failing social service yet.

Speaking to the BBC, Mulligan said of the new efforts, “It has to offer artists a reason why they would go there rather than on Facebook. It needs to become a social platform for bands and not just an alternative to Facebook.”

According to ComScore, MySpace only has an audience of 54 million. By comparison, Facebook had 150 million in May, down by 8 million from earlier in the year.

Now all that´s left to be seen is if anyone will choose to either switch or adopt a new social network, even if it is fronted by an ex-N*Sync member.