The Next MySpace

This guest post is by Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz), head of online communication at, a d.i.y. platform for music creators and content owners.

MySpaceNo A few years ago basically every internet-conscious band or artist had a MySpace profile. Times change and so does the internet; and MySpace has been dethroned with no other 'king' in sight. So music business folks love talking about "the next MySpace". There will be no "next MySpace". Here's why: 

MySpace came up in the early days of web 2.0; the first wave of a new trend to make the web more social through platforms. MySpace fit into the trend very well, rapidly gaining a lot of steam and realizing their value to bands and artists early on. They adapted and over the years nearly every internet-conscious artist hopped onto MySpace. One only had to do a search for [artist name] + MySpace and you could have an excellent taste of their music. Why did this change?

There are a couple of factors:

  • Competition on the social front
  • Competition on the band page and audio hosting front
  • Technical issues / MySpace' quality issues

The thing with MySpace was that while it initially jumped into some trends quite wisely, it failed to effectively innovate. Some parts of the service were simply frustrating (eg. animated images everywhere, the blog system, spam, auto-playing tracks on people's profiles). Then there were the regular technical issues which further upset chunks of its userbase.

Up came Facebook and people started flocking away – connecting with their personal ("real life") networks on there. Meanwhile Twitter allowed people to follow and connect with total strangers, in a smarter way than we used to connect with strangers on MySpace. Blog platforms like WordPress and Blogspot (and later Tumblr) became increasingly easy to use, which replaced another function of MySpace. Slowly, MySpace's social face was devoured by new giants.

Yet there were still more giants out there. YouTube became an increasingly popular place to host music and sites such as SoundCloud and Bandcamp helped to further fragment the arena. Of course all these platforms have their own limitations, meaning none of them are the 'king' to replace MySpace. So what?

Why do we need a "next Myspace" anyway? At the last edition of SF MusicTech, I heard a great quote which I'm not sure who to attribute to (sorry), but someone stated that the music industry is trying to find "new ways to do old things, while it should be finding new ways to do new things". The rise of the internet has meant a fragmentation and loss of control over the music landscape. MySpace was a stronghold for online music for a while, until that landscape got further fragmented too. The closest we will ever get to a "next MySpace" will be either a music network or a social network that manages to gather, organise and integrate the fragments in spectacular fashion. That, however, is still radically different, since it only unites the decentralized. Meanwhile further fragmentation is unpreventable.

Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp… they've all helped pave the way and now many specialized platforms are coming up, all focusing on their own fragment and paving their own ways forward. There are even small signs of Facebook losing its grip, even though their success lies in uniting the fragments. The trend is fragmentation; decentralization and thus far it has been unstoppable.
The king is dead. Long live the king fragments!

Learn more about Bas Grasmayer's (@Spartz) startup which receieved $8 million in funding in May and we named one of the 10 Smartest Startups at SF MusicTech 

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  1. Bandcamp its amazing, but It does not have the social aspect that myspace did. Facebook has the social aspect, but there is no facebook music, like there was myspace music. Having said that music apps in facebook are doing quite well. Youtube was is and will continue to be the largest place to find music, and just play it. And so there you have it. Myspace IS dead, and they have not been able to resurrect it, because they dont have the knowhow. Its buggy, it takes 10 years just play a song, and it basically sucks!

  2. It was Jason Feinberg of Concord Music who said “We want to figure out new ways to do new things, not new ways to do old things” at SF MusicTech.

  3. Topspin is also very good if you are building a list and then tring to sell music etc. Definitely worth considering for any artist looking to connect with their audience.

  4. @Kawika – FB will stick around for a while, and so will other social networks and solutions.
    @Hisham – True that we find ourselves creating new solutions for old services, but it will take that one new genius (i.e. someone to think of something we didn’t) to make “the next FB”.
    Musicians need to connect everything together – utilize the strong services and understand who their audience is and where they’re at.
    We’re launching a service to integrate them all – but we promised ourselves that we’ll try and also invent “the next thing”; just to have a nice addition to the current things we’re doing…

  5. Facebook is going to go the same way Myspace did the closer they get to an I.P.O and have to show a profit. People left Myspace because of the ads and the obnoxious promotions. Murdoch tried to turn a profit,but people don’t go to social media sites to buy anything, they’re there to SOCIALIZE.Myspace may have succeeded if they had uniformity in the pages,and disallowed all the flash when you visited a music page,but all the ads really got on people’s nerves,and that’s the only way Facebook is going to turn a profit. When the guys at Facebook have to face investors,they are going to have to increase ad space.It’s their only source of revenue.Most people now are getting info on new music from friends and Youtube.We indies have to figure out a better way to gain exposure since the majors still control the airwaves.

  6. Combining new socials with your own controlled website result in the best practice. Besides options like Bancamp, MOvE Online, Topspin, CDBaby or Bandzoogle you can easily keep up with the coming and going of the social networks.

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