I haven’t paid much attention to Myspace in later years. The last time I checked Myspace was around the mid 2000’s when myself and emo’s alike thought it’d be the next big thing. But alas, it wasn’t. Facebook came along and took over the social network scene offering a neutral layout free of obnoxious profile songs and overly edited profile layouts. Credit given where credit’s due though, I have Myspace to thank for most of my HTML knowledge!
From around 2008 Myspace began to decline no thanks to Facebook and Twitter, and started to drift from peoples minds. There were a fair few redesigns and an entire new rebranding in 2010 (to my_ instead of Myspace) hoping to bring back old users and hopefully grab a few new ones but that failed also. Bring on 2012/13 and here’s an entirely new website that has pretty much forgotten it’s old self to the point that when you sign in using your ‘old myspace’ account, all of the pictures you once had aren’t merged into your new account.
If you’re familiar with Myspace and the direction it started to take, you wont be surprised to find out that the new designs main focus is music. Music is somehow merged into everything, you can update your status and let people know what songs you’re listening to, you can add a mix onto your profile for others to listen to, and of course it wouldn’t be Myspace without the profile song.
In terms of layout, other than Justin Timberlake almost taking up your entire screen, staring.. there’s not much else to look at. Though later visits to my ‘dashboard’ I’m now greeted with a “Discover, Connect and Share” box giving me the option to find new artists, music and mixes, the ability to search myspace, for artists, music and mixes, and finally the ability to connect, with artists, music and mixes. I’m sure you get the pattern here..
It seems as if the social aspect of social networking has either been overlooked with the new Myspace, or they’ve just decided to focus on the one thing that actually worked for the social network and that’s the connection between artists and their fans.
From the short time I spent browsing the new Myspace, I’ve found a few interesting things that could perhaps work in Myspace’s favour and that’s the “Connect” option. When you update your status and include a song (bearing in mind it has to be in their library), it’ll display a “Connect (19)” (for example). Once clicked on, you’ll notice that there are 19 other people that also like the song you added to your status too. A brilliant way to “Connect” with people who also share your taste in music!
Your profile page is equally as baron as your ‘Dashboard’ you’ll soon notice that they’ve taken the Cover Image idea that Facebook first implemented and added it onto your profile, except it takes up your entire profile page and if you’ve decided to add a particularly bright and colourful cover image you’ll soon realise how distracting it is..
To actually find any content or status updates from the person’s profile your viewing you have to scroll to the right which is fairly annoying.
The music player is a bit of a mixed bag though. It plays through your selected mixes perfectly, even if you accidentally close the tab and open it up it’ll continue where you left off. This also happens when you next log in something that I can say is a bit of a pain considering it was pretty late and I had my speakers on loud from earlier in the day.On the left you’ve got a floating navigation bar with the users profile image. Below that you’ve got a few areas of the person’s profile that you can discover such as their music mixes, their connections, photo’s, videos, and events. The classic Myspace things are all there too such as the profile song and your “Top 8” which is a nice touch.
My favourite part of all though are the Mixes. You can create a mix of anything you like and display it on your profile for others to listen to. Along with that you’ve also got automatic mixes of the ones you’ve tagged when updating statuses or uploading pictures which is cool too. You can find my mixes here.. sort of..
Unfortunately you can’t check out peoples profiles without being signed in yourself. If you were to visit my profile for example, if you aren’t already signed in or have an account to sign into you’ll be redirected straight to the sign up/login page. Something I think is going to be a problem for newbies who want to check out the new layout and decide whether it’s for them.
Currently you’ve got the option to sign into the old Myspace if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the new look, and it’ll also be a good time for you to get your old pictures from there too!
Overall it seems like Myspace have taken the route they should have done a long time ago with more focus on musicians and artists than trying to keep a clearly dead social network alive. My only concerns are with sites like Last.fm that offer a better way for people to interact with as well as show off their music tastes. Fortunately I think the ability to create your own mix tape/playlist is what makes it a little better than Last.fm but unfortunately their library of tunes is by far inferior to Last.fm’s vast catalogue of tunes. Depending on whether Myspace plan on improving their music library, or keep it as it is with individual artists choosing what music goes onto the site, in my opinion will make or break Myspace.