Myspace is still the number one place every music artists needs to be.

Posted: June 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: General | Tags: , , | 11 Comments »

This afternoon I put out a tweet looking for a talented Myspace layout designer as part of my work with Melbourne artist management company Forum5. I got a few sarcastic responses back from some of my followers saying that I was stuck in 2002. While Myspace is definitely not the youngest or freshest music company on the block (and actually started in 2003) it’s still relevant for artists today.

Myspace is still the one place every artist needs to be and it could take a while to replace that. It’s the number one directory of all artists, big or small, where you are pretty much guaranteed to find a page featuring their music and some personal details.

When people are searching for artists they’ll often type in the artist name followed by the word “myspace”. I do the same thing when I’m looking for a wikipedia article about a given topic. It’s because I am looking for specific information that I know that particular site will have. In the case of the wiki search it is likely to have dates, facts and (hopefully) little opinion. When I’m looking for an artists I want to be able to stream their music, see a couple of photos, find out where they’re from and see how many people are following them.

iTunes doesn’t offer an alternative to this because you need to be within their app to search for music rather than from a web interface. Furthermore iTunes is a closed system for artists requiring you to pay money to third parties to have your music listed there. iTunes also lacks a lot of the more detailed information about the artist such as their last played show or photos from their upcoming video clip.

Myspace has no barriers: anyone can search from their browser without a third party application and anyone can create a music account and list their music there. It’s also really customisable with html, CSS and javascript so it can be more personalised than many other services.

Former Myspace users might think that Myspace is dead or irrelevant because they’ve moved over to Facebook or Twitter. The reality is that Myspace is no longer a social utility, it’s not “a place for friends” but it’s still a great music discovery engine.

I’m not arguing that it’s the best platform, there are definitely a lot of holes in it. There are better places to use to sell your music and your merchandise, to promote your shows and even to build your fan base – and these can all be seamlessly integrated into a Myspace profile. However Myspace is still the number one directory that every musician needs to be in so they can be easily found by prospective fans or casual listeners.

My advice to music talent is to create a great looking Myspace (you need to be there!) but also to look a little further afield. Setup a Facebook page and a Last.fm account and embed these widgets on your Myspace page. Create a slick looking site on The Sixty One and use this as your band site with your own custom url. Setup a Twitter account and update it daily with stuff like what you’re listening to, photos or snippets of new tracks. And then synch it to your Myspace/Facebook/Last.fm and The Sixty One profiles so you can update once and push to many.

What do you think? Am I completely off the mark or is this self-evident?

Ned

P.S. I did find a couple of guys who do great Myspace layout work over at Synapse.


11 Comments on “Myspace is still the number one place every music artists needs to be.”

  1. 1 Jake said at 9:13 am on June 7th, 2010:

    You’re right that myspace continues to be a necessity for anyone looking to or is making a go of it. The truism that it doesn’t exist if it can’t be googled applies to music and whether a myspace link is in the first five links in any google search for their name.

    I’m more cautious towards your comments of linking everything together. Something that really annoys me about band websites is how you have to wade through the offers of exclusive content hidden behind walls of form-filling to get anything of any real value. Think of that image that did the rounds of pirated vs original DVDs and the hoops you had to jump through on an original release that just weren’t there on a pirated copy. I’m all for providing people with options but there is such a thing as the tyranny of choice.

    Surely there is an argument for keeping things pared back and simple.

    … or perhaps I’ve gone too far down an unintended tangent.

  2. 2 Ned said at 9:21 am on June 7th, 2010:

    Generally speaking a myspace link is in the first few search results. They’ve been around for long enough and so many people link to them that Google ranks them very highly in a lot of search results pages.

    I think that by linking together a range of specialist services you get the benefit of their specialisation whilst also decentralising the power of any one service to turn features (or privacy) on or off. Hopefully services aren’t behind paywalls (last.fm being the only one in my example).

    I think the Sixty One do really well in having a simple service. It’s images, a music player and a bio. There are social elements but they’ve got the first elements there – I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with it.

    Thanks for the comment Jake!

  3. 3 owl said at 11:59 am on June 7th, 2010:

    I think this is purely a reflection of how popular MySapce became between 2003 – 2007, as a platform for musicians/bands now, it is so far behind more compelling competion this ‘directory of music’ will dwindle quickly in the near future. Personally, agregating data from the various other networks would be more beneficial for myspace at this stage, allowing soundcloud/bandcamp for tha actual delivery of audio, pulling in facebook/twitter feeds for news and last.fm for Tour Dates/related artists in an easy to design manner would make me sign up, even this late in the game.

  4. 4 F.Baube said at 1:16 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    When checking bands before going out on the weekend, MySpace is indispensable

  5. 5 Andy Ley said at 6:57 am on June 8th, 2010:

    To me it’s so backward that everyone left Myspace but bands stayed – it’s like they had no where to go… and I suspect that is the only reason they are staying.

    You are right – Myspace still makes sense for bands to list because people remember how good music discovery was when they had a myspace page… But I don’t think that Myspace does music discovery well at all anymore – at best it really is just a place to stream music from a band you haven’t heard before but know is playing somewhere locally… But that’s not music discovery…

    The number one place every music artist needs to be – is the place where they can be discovered before they are known. I am not sure that Myspace is this place…

  6. 6 Ariel Hyatt said at 5:47 am on June 15th, 2010:

    This is a great piece…. I could not agree more.

    Amen!

  7. 7 Atul Rana said at 4:18 pm on July 1st, 2010:

    Yes.

    I haven’t read the whole article and even though I am not a MySpace fan..a lot of promoters in London still use it.

    That and it is still also the one common base where you can compare and hear a band immediately.

  8. 8 Sebastian Mysko said at 2:30 pm on July 10th, 2010:

    MySpace…? That’s a funny one. I work with a number of artists every day and I can tell you right now, the only place MySpace continues to dominate in terms of hits and relevance is West Coast USA. The rest of the world will pick Facebook or YouTube as it’s search engine every time… and then maybe end up at MySpace after a series of clicks [that's based on stats - not opinion].

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d never suggest an artist went out of their way to avoid the social network, but I certainly wouldn’t advise them to develop their marketing around the site anymore. YouTube has killed MySpace TV, Soundcloud has (in my opinion) done a job on the MySpace player and Facebook/Twitter… well… need I say more. It seems every time these guys want to make a change or ‘development’ they go backwards… all whilst Facebook, Soundcloud etc work with new developers – like Rootmusic, who integrate everything and make the user experience a true pleasure, intuitive and relevant.

    Personally, I think the ultimate demise of MySpace as a ‘community’ was when people started using them as websites. Cheat the code and get some flashy looking site up there – that’s the beauty of facebook and all the other sites I’m talking about here; the point is in the engagement first, the dialogue, and then the creative design. What makes me laugh is that artists who don’t get the point of social networking and web 2.0 communication, are now sticking big html sourced images as their facebook landing pages… stop selling guys – it’s about the banter!

  9. 9 Luciano said at 12:51 pm on July 11th, 2010:

    I seem to be having a problem , subscribing to your RSS feed. It comes up with error 404. Let me know if its a easy to fix error or if its just me . Ive tried firefox and IE. Im using Bullguard Firewall and im not sure if its turned on . Im not educated with Netbooks. Ill bookmark your site and see if you have responded. bye now

  10. 10 Ned said at 9:11 am on July 13th, 2010:

    @sebastian I agree, it should never be the basis of your marketing activities. I have suggested that should be your personal website with everything else as an adjunct of that.

    I think you’re right about where Myspace fell down – it stopped being useful when people started gaming the system. Whether it was hiding their comments section, mass adding friends using software or spamming the internal mail system.

    Myspace was also broken in it’s inability to become a music discovery engine. The only way you could find related artists was via the “top friends” feature which was generally made up of label mates or big names.

    I’ve heard that Myspace visitor counts have halved in the US and Australia (and presumably other markets) in the last 6 months. Dire times indeed.

  11. 11 Brent Patton said at 3:44 pm on August 3rd, 2010:

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