Myspace — the social network that seemingly died in 2011 — is having a weird renaissance: 50 million people now visit the music-heavy social network each month. In November 2014 the website had a surge of 575% compared to the year before, the Wall Street Journal writes. Part of the surge seems to be from people trying to find their old pictures to use as “Throwback Thursday” #TBT photos for Instagram.
If you haven’t visited in a while, everything’s changed. The platform looks vastly different to its old, clunky form.
And if you had a Myspace account in your youth, you might be surprised to find out that it’s still there. (You better log in now and start deleting things!)
It’s modern and fresh — and arguably pretty cool. The site isn’t centred on profiles anymore. It’s more of an interactive and abstract place divided up into categories such as music, videos, and people.
Here is a closer look:
It’s still got a music edge — there are streaming, mixes, and insights channels. And it also features some original content, as well as spots for ads, all helping forge a new era for the once massive “MySpace” with a capital ‘S’.
Here’s the music section:
Myspace started in 2003, and it was hugely popular in the mid-2000s. At one point it was valued at $US12 billion; its 100 millionth user signed up in 2006. But it was sold by owners News Corp in 2011 for just $US35 million. The Murdoch company had jammed the space full of ads and it became clunky and unattractive to use. Plus, Facebook basically stole its entire audience by doing what Myspace used to do only better. For a while, not much happened.
Back in its crazy-popular years, it looked like this:
Not so hot, clearly.
But it reemerged in 2013 with new owners Specific Media — with investment popstar and actor Justin Timberlake, who helped launch the newly designed website. And 12 months on it appears to be paying off.
The WSJ talked to Tim Vanderhook, CEO of the site’s parent company, Viant Inc. He says Myspace now attracts a “vibrant audience of 17 to 25-year-olds, particularly music and entertainment fans”.
The recent success is also thought to be down to the famed “Throwback Thursday” ritual, where on the day each week people delve into “retro” photos from their teenage years and revel in sentiment — and embarrassment.
People have to “locate their old profile” — it’s there somewhere, usually:
“Besides a young following, Myspace also sees lots of return visitors from Myspace’s mid-2000s heyday — particularly on Thursdays,” the WSJ explains. “That’s because many people have old digital photos stored on the site, which they may want to retrieve.”
Mr Vanderhook adds: “MySpace was an early photo-sharing platform, so we still see a lot of people coming back to access old photos. They may not visit every day but they come back once a week or once a month.”
The new following and nostalgia of Throwback Thursday helped generate 50.6 million unique users in the US in November. Myspace had 300 million video views in November, which apparently ranks it 16th on comScore.