MySpace rebrands itself as music destination

As a social networking site, MySpace failed. But, CEO Tim Vanderhook says the site can reclaim its role as a powerful player in the online music world.

In an interview with Billboard, Vanderhook said, “Nobody has the relationships we have with the four major labels, the catalog of 25,000 independent artists and 42 million songs. If you take Facebook’s music announcements with Rdio, MOG and Spotify and you aggregated all those services up and took their audio catalog, it’s not even half of what MySpace has.”

In June, Specific Media, founded by Vanderhook and his brother Chris, bought the site from News Corp., and named Justin Timberlake (who of course portrayed Facebook and Spotify investor Sean Parker in The Social Network) as creative director. As part of Advertising Week in New York, Vanderhook and Timberlake revealed plans to take MySpace from “a place for friends” to a place for music.

Years ago, independent bands and unsigned artists populated MySpace in an effort to promote their music. However, Vanderhook says owner News Corp. “lost sight” of that aspect. These bands still welcome fans to their MySpace sites. Specific Media aims to foster the relationship with these musicians, creating a music destination online. According to Billboard,, other plans may include “a radio product that could compete with Pandora and an on-demand platform that could challenge Spotify.”

Going the music route could prove beneficial for MySpace . Today, while researching new acts, I sampled music from five different MySpace sites. Although others think MySpace is just a lost cause.

Nearly one year ago, under the ownership of News Corp., MySpace revamped the site as a hub for entertainment. However, things never turned around for the site. In January, the company cut 500 jobs. Then, News Corp., which bought the site in 2005 for $580 million, sold MySpace for $35 million.

Maybe Specific Media and Timberlake will have better luck.


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