After Two Years, MySpace Hijacks A Band’s URL

UPDATE: Band Gets MySpace URL Back With Apology!

magine that for two years you’ve dilegently updated your MySpace page, invited friends and communicated with fans. You’re an indie band on a budget; so MySpace and the friends you’ve made there are an important part of your marketing plan.  But just as things start rolling, you get this email from MySpace telling you that your MySpace URL is about to be changed. (click on image to enlarge)


That’s exactly what happened to the Montreal band Mobile two months into their second album release just as they left on tour with Chris Cornell. I’ll let the band’s manager Don Affleck take the story from here:

We equip our bands with the tools to make community development online simpler. Our main goal is to ensure our bands are connecting directly with fans and that their online communities are active and nurtured BY THE BANDS!

So last wednesday one of our bands (Mobile) receives an email from the Myspace "Team" saying:

"Greetings MySpace member,

We are in the process of making MySpace better which requires the use of the URL you have chosen. MySpace will reset your URL within 48 hours…

of receipt of this email. After it has been reset, you will be able to choose another URL. The reset of your URL will not affect your profile at all.  Should you have any questions, feel free to reply back and a MySpace representative will assist you in this process.

Thank you for your time and understanding!
The MySpace Team"

This is a fucking joke right?!?!  Nope, apparently Team-Myspace (fuck
ya!) came down and rained fire on Mobile’s myspace url because they are launching their "mobile" platform whose url is:

The band’s url WAS: www.myspace.com/mobile   — so they’re not even
using the band’s actual url!!   They just couldn’t stand to lose any
eyeballs during their marketing roll-out of their wonderful new service!!!

So now, after 2 years of the band authentically building and nurturing relationships online, Team-Myspace click-fucks the band out of their url.

NOW I understand why music lovers AND musicians are migrating away from Myspace and onto Facebook, Bebo etc. — TRUST — there can be no trust in a place that can takeover one’s address at will — how would a community service survive if users knew that at any moment their little plot of cyberspace could be stripped away?!?  I can understand if you threatened to kill the president or suggested that your big black van was a sweet innocent candy store….but isn’t Myspace all about the music??  Didn’t they just launch their music service in the USA???  But Myspace isn’t about the music…..never has been….this is about generating advertising revenue.  Funny thing is, shit like this proves Team-Myspace only knows how to beat a dead horse; and who the fuck is gonna’ be friends with a dead horse when the alternatives are active communities which users can trust?

Why did MySpace do it? Because they can.

Mobile the band’s MySpace URL http://myspace.com/mobile has been redirected to MySpace’s mobile offering (http://www.myspace.com/myspacemobile). Yes, redirected.  MySpace isn’t using the "/mobile" URL directly. They just wanted to avoid any confusion with "/myspacemoibile".

This move comes on the heals of criticism that MySpace Music offered equity to major label partners and left out indie labels and bands.  Some indies have still refused to sign on; and more than two months after launch, artists that aren’t affiliated with a label still have no way to participate in the new income sharing program.

UPDATE: Band Gets MySpace URL Back With Apology!


what do you think? dID MySpace Music go too far or are they just doing what they need to do to make an ad supported service successful?

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  1. I think genuinely Myspace did what they had to do – if people hear about Myspace Mobile and want to find out about it, they will natrually type in ‘www.myspace.com/mobile’ – it’ll be a first response from the majority of users.
    How ever, i do think Myspace were harsh to have terminated the band’s URL as they did. They should have given more than 2 days notice so the band had more time to communicate the change to their friends; and it would be nice for Myspace to offer some kind of promotion for the band in return for the inconvenience- a featured artist spot for a week, some kind of placement for the artist as a condolence.

  2. That truly sucks, but the band really should have been promoting their own domain name to begin with. ie: mobilerocks.com or somthing to that effect. (duh….)

  3. Myspace is way out of line here. Sure, it seems reasonable for them to want to avoid the confusion, but the lack of foresight on Myspace’s part should have just bit the bullet and done without the URL. Some bands spend a lot of money putting their myspace URL into cd covers, stickers, etc.
    I do hope more bands hear about this and start moving away from using Myspace as their primary website.

  4. MySpace Tech1: “Hey Marketing says we need this URL, you ever heard of a band called Mobile? Looks like they’re from Canada.”
    MySpace Tech2: “Nope.. I’ll fire of a notice.”
    Blogosphere: “MySpace can eat a sac of goat nuts. Backstabbing, heartless corporate bastards. Indie artists, run to the hills, run for your lives!”
    MySpace Brass: “Shit. Get PR on the phone, our shareholder overloards are going to be pissed.”

  5. Yeah I find it a bit unbelievable to say that the band was blindsided by this, having a URL like “Myspace.com/Mobile” I would have long expected Myspace reclaim the URL. Myspace on the other hand should have given more notice than 48 hours.
    Not that I’m worried that Myspace is going to take my URL’s for these profiles, but for my weekly nightlife events I simply foward “UltraFridays.com” & “TillTuesdays.com” to their respective Myspace URLs, and it costs me $8 a year each for the domain registration. That way if any of my accounts go down for percieved “Spamming” or something my guests won’t know the difference, I just change my domain redirect URL.
    I really think Myspace is within its rights here, if Myspace didn’t retain some sort of process to reclaiming URLs millions of musicians throughout the internets may have a domain that looks like “music.myspace/mobile” instead of a much shorter root directory name.
    I mean come on, you only have to look at the nausiating facebook artist page URL to see the answer here:

  6. Does anyone know what the legality is in terms of my space ‘owning’ your music. ie – being able to do what they want with it. From what I remember, there is something buried deep in the terms and conditions.
    Paul Carr

  7. I didn’t see the words “We apologise” or “We are sorry” in there anywhere. Mobile the band were an active tribe member of myspace. Why should they stay at myspace now when there are so many alternatives?
    Myspace is just another tool and maybe it’s not the best one out there anymore.
    This has got me thinking anyway.

  8. I’m new to this blogging stuff, hope I did the trackback right.
    I think this kind of thing is bullcrap! It’s not like Myspace couldnt see that their mobile stuff was coming down the internet highway! I understand taking control of the URL(it was theirs to begin with)But to only give them a 48 hour notice, come on! They’ve probably been setting it(myspace mobile)for a year or better. This is all about the money for myspace. Doesnt matter what the band already had invested in it. As long as myspace gets the traffic(money). I think Myspace should at least reimburse the band for any funds they had spent on the promotion of that URL!

  9. this also happened to a tuscon band called …Music Video? recently. their myspace url was /musicvideo, and myspace decided they wanted it. gave the band the same spiel as in the above message. these blunders, which spectacularly combine a lack of foresight with a complete inability to understand its consumer base, are just another sign that MySpace Music-As-Brand is going to be a non-starter…

  10. @Enda
    I think it might be stretching it to call MySpace a tribe.
    Otherwise, I think MySpace was generally within its rights to recall the URL to protect its business. That is, after all, what it is.
    However, they should have been more apologetic and as someone suggested, some free promo would’ve been nice.

  11. This is why I always tell bands to make sure they have their own website – a space on the net that they actuall own and that is theirs. Of course, most of the time, I get told by bands that they don’t need a website because…
    they have a MySpace.

  12. Bad form from MySpace, but hey it’s their webspace, they can do what the hell they like with it.
    This just goes to show that the web isn’t a free and open environment, it’s a space bound by commercial rules. And all bands using MySpace are getting a free ride from the world’s biggest social network.
    If bands want to defend themselves against this, they need to get their own webspace, URLs and bandwidth, and own their own brand.
    As for the blogoshphere backlash — do bloggers actually have any respect for MySpace in the first place? Aside from what it’s done for unsigned bands, I think a big pile of dogshit. But do Murdoch and his News Corp cronies give a crap anyway? Or their multi-million army of loyal teenyboppers? Err, nope.

  13. I recall reading something very similar to this issue a year or two ago….they are always messing with the indie pages….I have a page there….considering moving it…..

  14. Thanks everyone for the comments. At the very least MySpace handled this badly…
    Just wanted you to know that I’ve asked my contact at MySpace for a response. S far nothing – perhaps because of the holiday; perhaps not.
    Keep it coming.

  15. I agree with most here in that clearly MySpace had to do it, it’d be foolish not to. It’s somewhat of a rock/hard place situation, but I doubt MySpace actually thought of it that way.
    Mobile has right to remain indignant, but really this is probably the most attention they have ever had. I’d be excited, frankly, to have such a public injustice put upon my band.
    Either way, I am just excited for Muxtape’s band pages, which will surely be superior to MySpace in terms of design and ease of use.

  16. More and more people are turning away from MySpace to other social networking sites. Functionally MySpace is in the dark ages and with the amount of money they have for IT this is very sad. Definitely all bands need to have their own URL since MySpace is counting on musicians to count on MySpace. This is how they make their money and this is how they ultimately screw you in the end. This band should demand a front page music feature to run for a week and if they don’t agree, go to one of the better social networking sites and start the wonderful PR that is helping the band at the moment get noticed. Everyone loves a martyr.

  17. It has already been said here and I agree, poor form by MySpace but within their rights. Will bad PR cost them???
    ALL bands/artists should have their own website. Period. MySpace is a free service and is NOT existing to support your cause. Are any social sites?? A useful tool that, in the case of MySpace, has become less useful as of late. Sloooooow load times, strange behavior and bad press, that tedious changeover from the old player, play counts disappearing, etc..
    Compensation would be one remedy. Does it really matter if the band’s from Canada? They chose a URL and got it. Fair’s fair. MySpace can pony up. And 48 hours notice?? Building a brand on sites like MySpace is work. MySpace knows this but they are lazy. They count on dependancy and pick off users that are naive.
    Compensation in the form of advertising seems like a quick-fix for both sides. I think Peter has a plan. MOBILE are you listening?

  18. Absurd and stupid in myspace’s part but they do have the right. Smart and fair move would be to compensate the band. Hopefully karma will hold justice.

  19. Just as Gopi said earlier. Owning your domain is the key. If myspace or any other social media site tries to screw with your profile, they can.
    I’m not saying it’s cool, but they can do what they want with their site. Artists just use it as a FREE tool because it still is a popular place to find new music.
    If you just promote your own domain, then who cares if they change their url on you, your domain can still redirect to wherever you want.
    The New Rockstar Philosophy

  20. This band and every band that puts the power of contacting their fans in the hands of SOMEONE ELSE Deserves this. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for them, but if you had the numbers for all the clubs in your city would you give that to another company that had nothing to do with your well being. Does anyone remember mp3.com? Lots of bands gots screwed out of LOTS of money. You need to make YOUR website THE bug of your operation with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc additions (think channels) to provide information about you. This way if a channel goes down, then people know to go back to your website, and that all the official information will come from YOUR blog, YOUR email list, (not some tool from another website).
    Dave Jackson

  21. While MySpace owns the top-level domain, I’m curious to know whether Mobile (the band) would have any common law trademark claims; they built value into myspace.com/mobile. Granted, it is an extension of the myspace mark (and clearly have no rights in it). However, brand value in the new economy comes from untraditional places. Mobile the band is clearly hurt by this – it has lost considerable value. While the MySpace terms might deal with this (I haven’t reviewed for this particular point), I could still see where a common law trademark infringement or, perhaps, conversion claim could exist.

  22. MySpace has every right to do exactly what they did. MySpace is NOT your website, it is a portal that you can use for promotion, but you don’t own the URL..
    It sucks, but I could see how it would benefit bands on the other end of the spectrum. What if a personal user had your band’s name as their URL and MySpace helped you switch it? Then you’d be praising them for helping independent music.
    And honestly we’re not talking about “Led Zeppelin” here, if you name your band something generic like “Mobile” you should expect to run into problems not only here, but when fans are searching for your music anywhere on the web.

  23. MySpace is a fermenting corpse for exactly this reason. Since it was bought by Uncle Rupert MySpace has made decision after decision for purely commercial reasons and totally against the ethos of the Web. This is just another.
    MySpace may be the biggest thing in online music but it’s dead and starting to smell.
    Of course, this is just proof of what I tell anyone who’ll listen – you need your own URL!

  24. Thanks for your help with this Bruce! I work with the bands management everyone here is very happy about having the URL back. It wouldn’t have happened without this discussion. Here are a few of my thoughts about the whole situation:
    – As Bruce mentioned the band has their own CMS web site that we’re slowly developing. I believe strongly that an Artist should AT SOME POINT in their growth build their own site BUT this doesn’t need to be done right off the bat. What you should do is buy the domain name and then either redirect it a site like myspace OR have a landing page that allows people to see different places they can interact with you. Initially, with so few resources, a band should be focused on building up a community – wherever it happens. Trying to build and maintain a website with the right feature set (commenting, content management system, feeds, etcs) takes a lot of work – effort that could be more helpful elsewhere.
    – We’re on Myspace to take part in its community AND because Myspace has one of our biggest and most active (those two aren’t always the same) communities. And we advertise the fact that you can find us on myspace.
    – We made the choice, and perhaps this was a mistake, of putting the myspace URL with the website URL on a lot our products. Our CD has it, posters have it, stickers have it. In the future I might just mention that we are on myspace, facebook, lastFM, etc. just in case. I’m not sure how the rest of you deal with this.
    – Most people I know – in the industry or not – will search myspace for a band they want to know more about. I will usually visit a myspace page for a band I want to know more about before their website – because, and I think this is key, with myspace I know what I’m getting. If I want to find out about a band – I don’t want to have to wander around a website trying to figure out where there music player is, if they have one. With myspace its right there – and so are their tourdates, recent news items, photos, videos. Everything is accessible (the site doesn’t always serve the best code – but it usually works) and its all something I am now used to doing. Habit formed. This applies to other sites as well – facebook, youtube, etc.
    – As a lot of you have said, this was ‘bad form’ on myspace’s part, but something they’re technically allowed to do. So we were all completely surprised when the URL was returned yesterday especially since we didn’t get an email or update about it. It just happened – our new URL stopped working – and after a moments panic – we checked the old URL and everything was back. We owe it to you – thanks for you’re support/help/views! You all raised enough noise. And a thanks to whoever at myspace heard – they didn’t have to listen! Its good to see first hand that people can bring about change.

  25. I wasn’t expecting them to reinstate Mobile’s page, so that’s very encouraging.
    Fair play to hypebot for giving people a platform to scare myspace into giving it back.
    Lots of good advice in the comments about avoiding similar situations.
    Good damage control from myspace.
    Well done everybody!

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