Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited into the new MySpace and have spent a little time working my way around the site’s pre-release content and functionality.
Pre-launch, they did a fantastic job of building anticipation and early registrations, and to be honest I was worried it might be promising a little too much.
I was wrong. This thing is hot like Justin Timberlake*.
The design, layout and typography are, for want of better words, bloody beautiful. It’s super fresh and contemporary; cool enough to attract the early adopters, clean enough not to repel the older crowd and simple enough to form a solid foundation for feature expansion over time.
While initially its new terminology and sideways scrolling is a little demanding (but awesome on an tablet), stick with it a short while and soon you’ll find there’s more to offer here than just a flashback to your top eight friends list from 2003.
The user interface delivers some really innovative functionality – the instant search as soon as you start typing is particularly impressive – but I think the big news story here is around what exactly the new MySpace is out to achieve. It’s being pitched as Social Entertainment, so who will use it and why?
Taking a look at what’s on offer, there’s a lot that feels oddly familiar. There’s a newsfeed with photos not unlike Pinterest. There’s status updates and instant messaging like Facebook. There’s following, followers and a 140 character limit like Twitter. There’s a music player like Spotify or Pandora and even a big video player like YouTube or Vimeo.
So, with what seems like a melting pot of social functionality, are they trying to be everything to everyone? Not likely. The fact you can connect your account with both your Facebook and Twitter accounts suggests it’s as complimentary service, not a replacement for either.
Music and entertainment is at the core of everything on offer here. With free streaming (for now) and built-in mechanics leveraging natural social behaviours, it feels like connections will be made more through musical taste than just mimicking the real world social graph – and that could be quite refreshing and liberating.
The depth of content is inspiring too, with quality editorial around established and emerging artists including some really impressive video.
One thing’s for sure, with Justin Timberlake on PR and presumably art direction duties, a huge legacy user base and forever dominant SEO, the new MySpace is definitely one to watch.
My parting thought: who is making the content? There’s a real opportunity here for brands, not just bands, to leverage this brave new world of social entertainment.
*Research conducted at home, one female respondent, mentioned something about his dancing.