When media titan News Corp. first purchased MySpace in July, 2005, for $580 million, the thought of selling it just six years later for $35 million was unthinkable. But it happened. Now, a year later, plans for MySpace's next evolution are finally revealed.
Over the last three years, MySpace lost hundreds of millions in revenue and went through extensive layoffs, cutting over half their employees. Currently the MySpace audience is only 54 million. Compared to Facebook's nearly 1 billion members, many consider MySpace to be extinct.
On June 30, News Corp. sold MySpace to singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake and Chris and Tim Vanderhook. Their plan is to completely rebuild the site from scratch.
The redesigned MySpace now puts music at its center. It's a place for artists to connect with their fans.
“In a single sentence, it’s a social network for the creative community to connect to their fans,” Tim Vanderhook told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going after artists, right after this we’ll be talking to various artists to come on the platform. We want to give them a chance to help build it with us. We’re really far along, but we really want that last twenty percent to really be crafted by more people like Justin that actually know the tools and things that they need.”
The Hollywood Reporter also notes that Timberlake’s role is obvious when it comes to promoting and recruiting, however, he won’t reveal who will be his first targets. Eventually, the site will reach out to undiscovered talent and their fans.
“So it’s not about just the established, it’s also about the unsigned,” Chris Vanderhook said in The Hollywood Reporter article.
A new feature will allow fans to be profiled on their favorite artists’ page. In other words, Timberlake admirers may one day see their picture on his page with the caption “#1 fan.” The new co-owners believe that this method of connecting fans and artists will be a big attention-grabber for potential users.
Recently, Timberlake posted a teaser video on Twitter revealing the new MySpace. According to MTV News, the interface looks “a bit like Facebook-meets-Instagram, with hints of Pinterest and Windows 8.”
Among other things, users can peruse not only their friends’ photos, but playlists as well. The new “trending” tab shows everything from schedules of bands performing on late-night shows to magazine profiles of artists. For easy sharing and connecting, the new design features a drag-and-drop method.
However, even with all the new attractive bells and whistles, MySpace will still have to compete with the social network that wounded MySpace in the first place: Facebook.