When Specific media bought Myspace for the relatively dirt-cheap price of $35 Million in 2011, they knew they were getting a serious fixer-upper. So rather than simply tweak the existing site or change marketing strategies, they built a completely new site and figuratively burned the old one to the ground. If you were a fan of Myspace classic, the only things you’ll recognize in the latest incarnation are the logo and “Top 8.” However, as evidenced by the presence of big name brands like Hollister and background check provider Checkmate.com, it seems to be working.
Unfortunately, in tearing down the old site so that new, shinier sites could be built in its place, Specific Media was indiscriminate in its carnage. We lost the old gaudy, customizable layout, but we also lost two of the most important features of the old Myspace.
Band Fan Bases
It may be hard to remember now, but there was a time when bands struggled to establish a web presence, even if they knew it would help them get more fans. If they had a band member (or a friend of the band) with solid web development skills and they were willing to pony up the hosting fees, they could get a decent-enough web page up. But for starting bands that weren’t tech savvy, getting people to come to their shows was still a matter of plastering flyers all over their city.
But something changed when Myspace came on the scene. Suddenly bands could get all their cool photos, show dates, and even songs on the web in less than a day—without any tech knowledge at all. And thousands of bands took advantage of this, building up fanbases that they could command instantly through the social media platform.
Unfortunately, those fan bases didn’t transfer over. If you had a band that communicated with your fans through Myspace, you had to start from scratch with the new site. All those years of hustling by small bands to build up followers on the site were simply vanished.
That’s a strange move for a social network that is ostensibly all about music.
Blogging wasn’t always a way for companies to connect with their audience or a way for journalists to deliver the news instantly. It was once something between a private journal and a zine. Something teens used to communicate their overactive thoughts and describe what they were doing for the day. Think Twitter, but for a time when people had the patience to read more than 140 characters.
Some people invested years into their Myspace blog, to the point that it became the documentation of their slow maturity. Who wouldn’t like to look back on their thoughts and troubles from years and ago and appreciate just how much they have grown?
But one day, as Myspace was making the transition to the new layout, they were just gone. All those posts simply were simply wiped out, and people who stored their writings on the site were understandably livid.
The new Myspace only allows you to make posts with a maximum character count of 1024. To give you some perspective, this post is more than double that. So people who were still using the old Myspace wouldn’t be able to use it as a blogging platform even if they felt like sticking with it for some reason.
The New Myspace
The new Myspace is counting on these casualties being worth it. Sure, they’ve irked a lot of their most loyal members, but it will all be worth it if the site can find a new audience, right? Social media watchers will just have to wait and see if the new design was worth deleting a large part of Internet history.
Robin Cooley is a blogger from Salem, Oregon. He writes about social media, business, and marketing.