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