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