Fullerton native Rynda Laurel owns 1968media, a digital management and business development company. Her clients include The Smashing Pumpkins, Chuck D, and The Afghan Whigs. She was an early adopter of Myspace, and after watching the video preview of the “new Myspace,” she answered questions about the future of the social network owned by Specific Media in Irvine.
Digital manager Rynda Laurel says that artists are already busy with digital tools, and Myspace needs to convince them, and their fans, that the reborn social network is worthy of their limited time.
Q. What do you think of the video of the new MySpace?
A. It’s too fast to understand the message. If you watch it all the way through without pause, at the end you think “what was that?” Once I paused it after each new section and looked at what they were trying to convey, it made more sense.
It should have been broken down into two videos. One for users/fans and one for artists/brands. They are clearly trying to appeal to both in the video, but if you are a fan you don’t care about analytics, and if you are an artist it takes too long to get to you.
My main question: is this a social network for engaging with your friends about everything like Facebook and Twitter, or engaging with your favorite artists, or discovering music? If they are trying to be all things, they are going to have a harder time with messaging to each segment.
Q. What was the problem with the old MySpace?
A. In the beginning there was no problem. We got our training wheels on MySpace, learned how social networks worked, learned the power of sharing online, and even learned some HTML. It was a great place to express yourself, reconnect and hear about new music. It was an amazing place for artists. Had it been used authentically, perhaps it could have sustained as an artist community.
The thing is, MySpace got crowded and some of us wanted to go to college, so we found Facebook. Then, once we got our education on Facebook and our families joined, we wanted to go out in the real world and have direct conversations, so we incorporated Twitter into our lives. I think we as fans simply outgrew it. If fans migrate, artists migrate.
Q. What will it take for MySpace to become popular again with artists?
A. A concrete point of difference and reason for both artists and fans to reinvest time into the platform. There is a huge difference between being on the platform, maintaining your profile, and engaging. The question is, how will MySpace get artists to want to engage? What is different? Then, how do they get fans to engage?
Strategically, I would think they should focus on the connection between the artist and the fan within the platform and show a reason why both parties should be engaging there more than anywhere else on the web.
The one advantage MySpace has is that Facebook does not cater to artists at all, even with the integration of great tools such as BandPage, Bandsintown, Spotify in the feed, etc, it will never feel like a music-centric place. Also, with their new algorithm less people are seeing the artists’ posts. Unless that changes, and you don’t have to pay for exposure, artists and digital marketers who know better will spend their time engaging elsewhere. Hence the move to more engagement on Twitter and Instagram.
Again, if MySpace can show the artist and the fan why they should invest precious time there, they may have a chance. I can think of a million ways to do that, let’s see what they come up with.
Q. What will it take for MySpace to become popular again with entertainment fans?
A. Same answer as above, just switching focus. Why will I spend time there? What is the advantage? If there is one, it was not clear in this video.
Q. Does MySpace have any competition for musicians in social media?
A. The main competition is time.
No matter what, an artist must maintain and engage on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Add in Instagram, 10,000+ new music startups, direct-to-fan mailing lists, selling music, getting gigs, and most importantly writing great songs and practicing one’s craft, who has time to devote much less re-devote to another network?
As a fan, everything online is competition to MySpace.
ReverbNation is the one platform that combines an artist’s front-facing profile for fans to view, plus numerous tools for them to help spread their message across all social media. It is a great place for emerging artists.
As a social network for artists of all genres, there is no one stop shop for fan engagement and artist tools that is music-focused. There are places for fans to engage with artists, places for fans to engage with other fans, and places to socialize around music, but no all-in-one place that is music focused.
Myspace competition is the fragmented space of all of the social media and music platforms. It seems like they are trying to reestablish the idea that they offer it all, but their vision is not compelling enough yet. They have not clearly shown me why I need to engage there again: as a social space, as a music fan, or as a digital manager for artists.
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Myspace needs more than friends to succeed