Myspace was one of the first social networks to grace cyberspace, long before Facebook was exclusively connecting college students with their peers. Launched in 2003, Myspace took off with a bang, and by 2006 there were 100 million profiles on the site; however, in 2008, Facebook overtook MySpace in the Alexa rankings, and since then the latter site has seen a steady, drastic decline in unique members despite several redesigns over the years.
As a result, today Myspace is more commonly known for its reputation as the laughing stock of social networks: outdated and out of touch. What Internet users are just learning is that Myspace’s image has been changing, albeit under the radar, for more than a year now. In June 2011, Justin Timberlake purchased the company with Specific Media Group, and the co-owners have been paving the way for a major Myspace comeback.
Throughout the years, the focus of Myspace shifted from connecting friends to catering to artists and creators, and became a hot networking destination for musicians. There the owners found its niche, and the focus on which to shape its comeback: connecting members of the creative community to their fans.
The redesign, which is already rolling out to artists’ profiles on Myspace, maintains the site’s best selling point: remaining the only social network that allows artists to share their work for free through a unique media streaming infrastructure. While the site is still beckoning to musicians as it has been for more than a year now, Myspace’s new owners intend to expand upon similar opportunities for other members of the entertainment industry: filmmakers, DJs, producers, and so on.
Although there seem to be countless niche social networks of varying levels of prominence on the web, Myspace owners are optimistic about giving the site another chance at becoming mainstream. While its negative reputation may influence Generation X and older users, the youngest Internet users likely have no prior experience with this site, granting it an opportunity at rebirth and integration with the newest kids on the block. If successful, we may be talking about Myspace still — and not just as the punchline to an old joke — for years to come.