myspace Can MySpace make a comeback using a different approach?

Can the new MySpace bring back the old fans and attract the new, or is it too late for one of the original social networking sites to make a comeback?  Justin Timberlake teams up with the renovated site to connect artists with their fans.

One of the newest social networking sites turns out to be not so new after all.  MySpace is back for Round 2, and it has been renovated and refocused.  It has been a couple of years since MySpace was considered a serious contender in the social networking arena, but investors believe that the brand still has value.  The social networking site was purchased by Chris and Tim Vanderhook for only $35 million, a deeply discounted price compared to the princely $500 million that NewsCorp paid in 2005. 

Instead of positioning itself as a direct competitor of Facebook, the new MySpace actually encourages its users to login using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, implying that it is simply a way to enhance the social media experience.  MySpace has teamed with the mega pop star Justin Timberlake to put a new face on the company, and is focusing on providing a unique user experience in the music space.  The goal is to attract artists from all genres with the opportunity to connect directly with their fans, as well as allow fans to interact with their favorite artists.  The site is not restricted to musicians, since photographers, designers and other artists are encouraged to join and display their work.

Many experts agree that the decision not to take on the social media giant Facebook is wise.  With hundreds of millions of users that have invested years of their lives storing photos and conversations on Facebook, it seems unlikely that users would abandon their profiles and create them on a brand-new, untested site. 

There are many beautiful, well-designed websites that already do a great job filling the space that MySpace is actively pursuing. While MySpace is extremely well-designed and has all the features that anyone listening to and exploring music online could want, it might be walking the thin line between something great and too much of a good thing.  MySpace has advantages that other music sites don’t, such as licensing agreements that date back several years, from the times when the company was in a good position to leverage excellent deals. 

In order to join the new MySpace, you have to request an invite from the site.  They are rolling it out by invite only, which was a very effective strategy for Gmail.  While no one can tell for sure whether former MySpace users will be willing to give the site another chance, it is true that there are tens of millions of new internet users who were never exposed to the previous site.  Only time will answer the $35 million dollar question of whether MySpace can finally be revived.