A teaser video has been released for the latest incarnation of MySpace. Myspace, the company once approximately to be worth $12billion and employing over 1,600 members of staff, are looking to reinvent themselves once more following Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake's joint purchase for approximately $35 million in June 2011.
Many 18-24 year olds (myself included) switched allegiances from MySpace to Facebook in the years 2006-2008. They were fed up with the lack of security features, spam and the amount of advertising on the site - in part to MySpace's 3 year $900 million advertising deal with Google. Some experts suggest it was this very deal with Google that killed MySpace.
I can only speak for myself, but the reason I switched to Facebook was not immediately apparent. Most importantly more and more of my university friends were all communicating through Facebook, while some were still using MySpace. It was probably a phase of over a year or two between opening a Facebook account before I stopped logging in to my MySpace account entirely. I think Facebook's simpler design and focus on social networking won me over. I only used MySpace thereafter to look at music from upcoming artists, but never actually logged in to my MySpace account.
This post though is not about the history of MySpace, why did it work and why did it all fall apart. This post is about the new MySpace. There have been many tweaks, redesigns, repositioning of MySpace as a business, but this is the first time I have generally cared about MySpace's relevance in the online world again for many years.
So what have Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake created in the 15 months since their takeover? Justin Timberlake tweeted earlier this week a video to the new MySpace.
Very little else has been revealed so far about the new MySpace. The video itself is at the bottom of the post, but let's disect what can be worked out from some of the key screens featured in the video itself.
What are the early thoughts?
Users have the choice to sign in via Facebook Connect, sign in with Twitter or via a username / email address. The main navigation is at the bottom of the browser. The design is clutter free and apparently optimised for tablet devices.
First time users are guided through a 1, 2, 3 profile creation process. It is unclear yet whether previous MySpace accounts are being transferred over to the new MySpace or users will have to set up a new account.
One thing is clear from the new designs, the layout is big, uses lots of imagery, minimal clutter and uses horizontal scrolling. The above is an example of a user's profile page. Users seems to have a profile photo and a cover photo that is left aligned and takes up the majority of the browser.
Users can swipe user profile content from right to left, revealing the user's wall. Images are again large and copy seems to be reduced. The grey, black, white colour scheme from the current redesign has been kept in place over reverting back to the blue and white colour scheme from MySpace's heydays.
User profiles are made of several sections - profile, layout, music, connections and photos. The above screenshot is of the music section.
User's seem to be able to attribute playlists, photos, cover photo, descriptions in one bundle that can be shared and commented on. The playlist seems to suggest MySpace have set up their own music streaming service or have secured a tie in deal with another music streaming service such as Rdio or Spotify.
User's friends are called 'connections'. On the connections page, each connection is displayed as a large image, their name appears on rollover.
Users can go to the discover page to find what's trending, new music, videos, people, radio, events etc and then drag the content to an area at the bottom of the page. This is akin to repinning pins from Pinterest in both visual and functionality perspectives.
There is one word for the MySpace search page. Big. The search bar is not placed in the corner as an afterthought, here the search bar takes up the full width of the page. Search appears to be very important, the ability to discover what's trending, new content and to then share it is pivotal to the new MySpace becoming a success.
The above screen looks to be for writing a status update - again it takes up the whole of the browser. Users can add a song, upload a photo, add a tag and add a location. They can share to Facebook and Twitter and have a 140 character limit.
Above shows further indication of MySpace's music pages. Justin Timberlake's overview page looks like a reskin of his Spotify page.
Finally, still at MySpace's core is the ability for fans of the same thing to connect with each other. This is the overview of Justin Timberlake's top fans, breaking down demographs, location and photos of the fans themselves.
All in all this seems a very exciting start for the new MySpace, but until the new site has been fully rolled out can we see whether the latest redesign / reinvention can be deemed a success. Do we measure success by where it is now or a comparative success to where MySpace was in 2006-2008? Let us know what you think and take a look at the video below for yourself.