Myspace is coming back. Actually, Myspace never left – you should still be able to access your old account, if you somehow still have your log-in email and password. Problem is, you probably don’t have access to that email account anymore, because chances are good that when you made your Myspace account, your email address probably contained the words “princess” or “robot” and probably started and ended with “Xx” and “xX.” Maybe you don’t use that one anymore.
Although Myspace never really left us (but we sure left it in a hurry), it is attempting a comeback with a complete redesign. Ever since Myspace was purchased away from NewsCorp last year by Chris and Tim Vanderhook (with a big assist from Justin Timberlake), the site has been more focused than ever on music. The new ownership saw Myspace primarily as a way to connect famous and not-so-famous acts with their fans in a more personal way.
It’s no surprise, then, that the new Myspace is much more centered around the artist’s experience with the website. Timberlake is working with several unnamed artists and using his own expertise to create tools that artists feel they need to better connect with their fans. So far, this includes a top fans feature that allows artists to feature certain particularly influential fans. Profiles will be very visual, extending horizontally with pictures of events and shows, along with tidbits of news and information from the artist.
In general, the site will feature new projects by prominent musicians, as well as new material from up-and-coming and largely unknown acts. Fans and artists alike will be able to create playlists from music on the site, or create albums for events that will contain photos and an accompanying playlist. Fans browsing artist pages will be able to immediately access new releases, tour dates, music catalogs, mixes, and shops specific to the artist, and the interface looks a lot more efficient for that purpose than that of Facebook.
The key to Myspace’s new attempt at relevance is that it isn’t trying to compete with Facebook, at least not directly. The new Myspace isn’t really a general social network – it’s a specific service aimed at filling what the Vanderhooks and Timberlake see as an unfulfilled niche – connecting artists to fans in a personal, visual way. It looks promising enough – you can watch the video introducing the new Myspace and request an invite at the end, but for now, it sounds like Myspace is in closed beta with a limited number of artists. There’s no timeframe for when it’ll be ready for the general public.