I know this LA Weekly story wasn’t an easy one for writer Ben Westhoff to write, being that he is a fan of the new Myspace and friend to not only current employees but several writers who have been hired to produce articles for the site, but an interesting read nonetheless. I was quoted for how difficult it was during the early stages to get artist managers, labels, etc. to understand what Myspace was and this was true, this was pre Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube back in 2004. The musicians’ “handlers” questioned whether or not their artists would use a social site because it would bring the fans closer to them in a way it hadn’t before. They feared losing the nostalgia of being an “artist.”
Rather than take “no” for an answer at first request, we talked directly to the artists themselves and in contrary, they loved the site, we loved working with them on creative new fan programs, offline sponsored events, original video series, editorial features, etc. and together, revolutionized the music industry. As Ben mentioned artists like Drake, Diddy and Taylor Swift all used and loved the site. Alongside hundreds more like Nicki Minaj, Colbie Calliat, Katy Perry, J.Cole, Pitbull, Miguel, etc. who started their successful careers with the platform built by the founders. Unsigned artists were getting signed just by their high song play numbers or visibility on the Myspace charts. See a few videos of the artists themselves speaking on using the site below.
Even though I’m no longer with the company, as I meet with several artists, managers, labels, DJs, etc. they mention to me that there is still a missing void to the tools and community that a site like Myspace once provided that helped to amplify discovery, collaboration and monetization. It’s up to the regime still there to decide it’s future from here but I’m hoping they align, learn from past mistakes outlined in the article and make easy fixes on to an already great product. To be focused on music journalism could be one angle being they still receive 5M+ unique visitors (high in comparison to the most popular music blogs/sites currently out there right now), but there is still a need for the millions of other artists who just need a platform to showcase their creativity and music. There are other sites that exist today which are great which include Soundcloud, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc. which are all fragmented and only pieces of what tools an artist needs in the current DIY marketplace.
In any case, while speaking to other alumni and agreeing, I hope someone is documenting and creating an “Oral History” of Myspace or better yet a movie out of the ongoing story, if you thought “The Social Network” was interesting, wait until you hear this one.. 😉
Read the full LA Weekly story “Is Myspace Destined to Fail Again HERE.”
Katy Perry speaks on Myspace:
Drake on Chelsea Lately: 4:31
speaking on meeting Lil Wayne on Myspace:
Nicki Minaj on E!:
discussing booking shows off of Myspace in her early days: