on the record

So Mur­doch took a loss on Mys­pace: but the site’s not dead yet

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - Jim Car­roll on mu­sic

All told, it has been a bad week for Ru­pert Mur­doch. There’s no end in sight to the mo­bile phone hack­ing al­le­ga­tions that have en­gulfed the me­dia mogul’s News of the World.

Then there’s the mat­ter of a big hole in the News In­ter­na­tional bal­ance sheet next to the en­try marked “MyS­pace”.

In 2005, Mur­doch paid $580 mil­lion for the so­cial-net­work­ing site. Last week, he flogged it for $35 mil­lion to ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany Spe­cific Me­dia and Justin Tim­ber­lake.

While News In­ter­na­tional still holds a 5 per cent stake, the site is no longer its prob­lem.

Yet you have to won­der if MyS­pace is re­ally a prob­lem at all. Yes, there are snap­pier, sex­ier and snazz­ier so­cial-net­work­ing sites. Yes, MyS­pace is one ugly, cur­mud­geonly bas­tard com­pared to its peers. Yes, MyS­pace is the butt of many jokes.

But the site still has trac­tion, es­pe­cially when it comes to mu­sic. Even though many acts have mi­grated to Sound­Cloud and Band­camp (and some favour Re­verb­Na­tion), most bands still main­tain their MyS­pace page as much out of habit as any­thing else.

Google a band’s name and their MyS­pace will still fea­ture in the first cou­ple of re­sults. Some brands would pay good money for such search-en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion.

The trick for MyS­pace’s new own­ers is to lever­age this mu­sic stick­a­bil­ity into some­thing that can com­pete with the new guns. Due to how the mar­ket has frag­mented, no new site has yet come along to ri­val MyS­pace’s ap­peal in its pomp when it came to mu­sic.

While it’s un­likely to re­turn to its hey­day, when it had 80 mil­lion users, MyS­pace could yet rekin­dle some of its ap­peal. At the very least, it might well pro­vide some new friends for Tom.

MyS­pace: has been by­passed by other mu­sic sites, but still has a lot go­ing for it

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