First impressions of the New Myspace.
The New Myspace opened to the public on January 15. Prior to that, there were a few folks exploring the new site who had requested early invitations. We were first introduced to the aesthetics of the site in this video released late last year.
As a professional working in social media and a major music enthusiast (one area of focus for the site), I think JT heard my “heartbeat” speed up with excitement and granted my request for early access (or so I like to think). When I first began exploring, I had the strange sense that comes with getting to a party uncomfortably early: Where was everyone, and were they even coming? I imagined all the coolest fashion designers, filmmakers, photographers and musicians would be solidly represented. Instead, I realized it could be kind of quiet for awhile. The following are some first impressions of the new.myspace.
Most social media sites are set up to be navigated by scrolling vertically to view content (think Timeline on Facebook). Not so with the new.myspace. It may be an echo of the site's focus on music, video and visual marketing, or most likely a layout that's easy to navigate from mobile devices, of which usage is heavily increasing. The visually beautiful site, music, videos and stunning images make the site perfect entertainment for when you're on the go. The content is navigated by sliding the pages horizontally, and while it's something to get used to, the feature is just part of what makes new.myspace stand out from other sites. It's kind of like looking at a pretty picture book, except even better, because every song or video you pass over will play for you. Clicking on photographs results in the photos blowing up to display really large, stunning images. It's an awesome way to visually discover and interact with new music, videos and brands and for the creative community to connect with fans in a fresh way.
There's no need to remember what song you just played because you can instantly interact with it in a variety of ways, either by “connecting” to it (similar to the “Like” on Facebook), adding it to your queue, sharing it, adding it to a mix (playlist), making it your profile song, sending it in a message or just coping the link. Connecting to a song, artist, photo, video or brand is similar to starring a song or artist on Spotify, although in addition to simply “bookmarking” a song with a star, you are amplifying your action with one of the above actions. You will be able to see the song in your stream, or in whatever form you chose to interact with it. If you listened it will be on your player (music player always playing at the bottom of the page), you can see it in your playlist or in your connections. Brands, musicians and even people you connect with on the new.myspace are not your “friends” in the same sense they would be on Facebook or Twitter. You are even shown your “affinity” with other users when you make the decision to connect with them, based on how both of your connections match up. Forbes cleverly describes the new.myspace as “Pinterest for your ears.” Though you can certainly comment on a photo or song, the social element is more or less left out. This is a place to discover, experience, organize and share artist's work. There are also many opportunities to buy the songs you're listening to, adding a monetary layer for brands and musicians using the site. It will be important for brands and artists to build connections, as it seems likely down the road there will be an analytical element for brands and musicians to see their fans demographics to help in their marketing on the site and elsewhere.
In my experience so far, I think people who are passionate about music and creative pursuits, who take the time to discover new videos, music and brands in the first place will love this playground of creativity. If someone joins the new.myspace because they think they're going to just magically know about all the best new bands, designers and films, I think they will be disappointed. What's driving the discovery process is how much your friends are interacting, or connecting, with content on the site; friends are are a bit limited at this time. Users drive discovery, and that is going to be quite a challenge for the new.myspace: gaining users. Heck, even a lot of my musician friends who have active band pages on the old version haven't jumped aboard yet, so it can seem a little like a ghost town. Interestingly, the new.myspace doesn't seem to be converting existing user profiles into new ones, at least not yet. It looks like they could be creating an all new userbase (the old and new sites still exist separately). New users can now log in through Facebook or Twitter, so at least it's building on top of these two platforms and integrating with them. The new.myspace also doesn't offer the option of looking for friends based on other sites you belong to (Facebook, Google, Twitter). It's also difficult to link all of the accounts if you don't first set up the user profile with Facebook, and vice versa, if you set up your account before it was available through Facebook (like me), you may have issues signing in through Facebook and Twitter. All wrinkles that need to be smoothed out.
When thinking of the possibilities of the new.myspace (before it was open to the public) I was sure that by the end of this year it would take off. When I read about some user's experiences with being confused and sentiments of not getting what JT promised and taking into account my own experience thus far, I have to question the mainstream appeal and adoption, to a point. It may just be a learning curve. As we know, every time Facebook makes a change it causes a wave for a week or two and then users adapt. Needless to say, at this point, I don't expect to see a lot of my Facebook friends on the new.myspace. It takes time and I think you have to have a true interest to stick to the site while all the early kinks are being worked out. This will be the new.myspace's biggest challenge: users should understand the site pretty quickly and get invested, or it will be impossible to grow; unless, perhaps, they build a niche audience like the users who are still active on Pinterest. If you haven't, I encourage you to experience the new.myspace for yourself. Whether as a music lover, photographer, or more importantly, as a social media marketer, there's a lot we can learn yet from the visual and interactive appeal of the new.myspace. We'll keep you updated as their story unfolds. Does anyone else have that JJAMZ song stuck in there head?