MySpace: A Music Industry Perspective (Or If Video Killed The Radio Star Then Social Networks…)


[If you are into the music business then you have probably visited Coolfer a time or two. It's becoming the online bible for music business news that's unfiltered and uncorrupted by the major labels.

I got together with it's founder and editor Glenn Peoples, and convinced him to give us his view of the MySpace phenomenom from a music industry insiders perspective. It's worth reading.]


A conversation I often have with people is about the permanence of MySpace. Will it stick around? Many experts and members of the media doubt its staying power. They see an online community that has so little vested in membership that it can switch to an alternative with close to zero friction. It's been done before. Friendster was the king of online networking before MySpace rose to the top of the heap.

Just the fact that Rupert Murdoch bought the company should have been given a MySpace exodus some momentum. (For much of America, nothing is less cool than a site owned by the owner of Fox News.) But that didn't happen. And it's probably not going to happen. MySpace is too valuable to give up any time soon. Here's why, from a music perspective:

MySpace is the greatest equilizer since the advent of affordable CD manufacturing. It allows everybody an equal chance to be heard. From superstars to unheard garage bands, everybody can have a page and anybody can become a friend of those artists, thereby becoming part of their online network. And MySpace offers the same tools to everybody, big or small or in the middle.

Bands are heavily invested in MySpace. First of all, it's free. That's key. That brings everybody in. They communicate with fans. They make new fans. They're able to post new music, photos, new tour dates and blog posts about whatever topics strikes them. Some don't even have proper websites, just a MySpace page. No need for a webmaster. Anybody can make a MySpace page for free.

It's easy and it works perfectly. Really, what improvements could be made? Want to hear a band's songs? Just click on the MySpace page link and the songs will start streaming. No fancy graphics will delay the download time. No media player need to be downloaded and installed. It's simple and it works incredibly well because it's simple. A MySpace killer will have to make a site that's even easier to use.

Labels are very involved in MySpace pages. Some webmasters handle artists' MySpace pages just as they handle regular websites. They make updates, add videos and audio, everything. To a label, this is a great way to reach people who like your bands. MySpace friends augment the traditional mailing list and allows labels to pinpoint potential customers in certain markets, and it takes very little labor. Labels don't want MySpace to go away.

MySpace often gets more attention that band's proper web sites. New music usually goes first to MySpace. Same with tour dates and misc. information. And MySpace has been brilliant in getting album previews and exclusives and in general moving its repuation beyond being known for just for socializing. It's not just a place to make friends and exhange emails, it's also about commerce.

The network effect. If everybody uses MySpace — and everybody does — why leave? The same impulse that gets people to MySpace will keep them there.

Sounds like I'm saying MySpace has become an irreplaceable institution. Well, that's just about what I'm saying. The site has raised the bottom and allowed bands to reach out to people in ways that didn't exist just a few years ago. For music lovers and bands it's turned out to be a true breakthrough.

Ten years ago I would often go to a concert without ever hearing the music of the opening band. Five years ago I would check to see if the opening band had a website, and if so hope that the band posted some audio. Now I know the band will have a MySpace page. Everybody does. One click and I can hear the band's music and find out some basic information. I never again have to go to a concert not knowing if I'll like the opening band. And if I do like the opening band, keeping track of them will be made easy.

Written by Glenn Peoples, founder and editor of music industry blog

Explore posts in the same categories: Army Of One, art, change, communities, coolfer, education, glenn peoples, important, internet, marketing, money, music, MySpace, new media, personal, smart, technology, trends, video, Web 2.0, young people

18 Comments on “MySpace: A Music Industry Perspective (Or If Video Killed The Radio Star Then Social Networks…)”

  1. Robert Green Says:

    Everything seems so wide open for everyone. Opportunities abound.
    Everyone now can have their 15 minutes via myspace.
    Nice post.

  2. Paul -V- Says:

    Finish the sentence. Killed what? The music industry?

  3. chartreuse Says:

    Now if I answered that you wouldn’t need to read the article, right?

    But yeah, that’s what i was getting at.

  4. Paul -V- Says:

    Thanks. 🙂 Just making sure.

    Good article.

  5. Martin Says:

    You’re showing your age their Char, with ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ … oh yeah, and so am I.

  6. Reeegan Says:

    I have to disagree. myspace is filling a void right now, unfortunately it’s too big to change which it will need to do and thus will turn into a dinosaur.

  7. badborg Says:

    Good point Reeegan

  8. david Says:

    There is a similar (albeit much smaller) situation in the UK clubbing scene. has taken on the older sites (including ours) to become THE online place to be if you are a promoter or clubber in the UK.

    It is superb that almost everyone into music (MySpace) and clubbing (DSI) are in one place. It will take a very clever, unique and 6x better site indeed to unseat either of them.

    But bands/people/promoters can exist online without MySpace or DSI. After all, there are things that these sites don’t offer, areas of web traffic that they don’t dominate and features they have that annoy some people (MySpace in Firefox for example).

    The challenge for users, developers, labels and promoters is to keep pushing forward and not let one site do everything.

    After all, music is about bucking the trend and creating new ways of doing old things.

  9. chartreuse Says:

    I think the point is that we are not going back. That’s what the majors have to realize. Power is now in the hands of the artists. And I doubt they’ll give it back.

  10. Jay Baldwin Says:

    Totally agree with the point made here. Older, unattached record execs make the arguement that the sound is not good on myspace and therefore it is not “the savior”. Who cares! When the CD came out they told us that it was better quality than the tape. Ok maybe it got rid of some hissing, but the real reason the labels switched to CDs was because it was cheaper to distribute. I think what should be noted here is the refusal of big labels to change and adapt. They’re like old legislators who just want to stay the same so they can stay in power. Not gonna work in the music industry.

  11. osmond Says:

    I’m love this great website. Many thanks guy

  12. uway Says:

    great read…im just glad people are seeing it for what it is and not a fad..myspace has made it ok to do what everybody else is doing…killer concept and i can’t wait to see the upgraded copy cats of the future…myspace just did what AOL could of have done years ago and we all would be discussing AOL space insted of myspace..

  13. Agreed… They’ve done a great job with allowing artists to showcase their music to the world without having to be some big shot signed with a label.

  14. […] down Napster, which only spawned the birth of a series of copycats. They came to show late with MySpace. They resisted iTunes and Steve Jobs 99 cent pricing structure. Stupid, stupid and more stupid. […]

  15. […] An online platform needs to emerge, something that is to readers, writers and publishers what MySpace is to musicians and Etsy is to craftspeople. Hundreds of thousands of self-published books sit […]

  16. […] MySpace in my opinion is one of the social networks who has no true identity. Facebook, created for college students and grew to a larger network where you can meet and connect with people remains the same, where as Myspace who was designed to be a “meet people” site has advanced to a music industry disappointment. Many people disagree with the music aspect added to Myspace. They are given artist and no named musicians a chance to deliver their music for free and the music industry dislikes this. Many users or past users no longer use MySpace because of the undecided goals and the fact the brand name has been defeated by their competitors. MySpace’s goal with including the music portion was to raise revenue since they have never met their peak. (MySpace: A Music Industry Perspective (Or If Video Killed The Radio Star Then Social Networks…) […]

  17. […] could be streamed directly from the Internet, and paired with text and visuals. The MySpace model  transformed the music business in the mid-2000s, serving as an equalizer of sort since amateurs and unsigned bands could set up […]

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