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 Coolfer.comExplore 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