In 2003, a social networking site emerged from a corner of the Internet promising real connections and new discoveries. Users could create customizable profile pages, post photos, update their status and rank their eight best friends.
No, we’re not talking about Facebook here.
Users could also discover new music from up-and-coming bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Owl City, or musicians like Calvin Harris and Colbie Caillat.
It quickly took off, and in June 2006 it became the most visited website in the world, surpassing even Google and Yahoo. By August of the same year, the website had attracted over 100 million users.
But as fast as it rose, it fell.
That website was, of course, Myspace and what TikTok is for Gen Z, Myspace is for Gen Y.
There is perhaps nothing more disconnected than someone actively using Myspace in 2022. In fact, I don’t know a single person who uses it, mainly because even for nostalgia-hungry people, Myspace is a shell of what it was.
What was once teeming with neon wallpapers, misspelled words and photos taken at a 35 degree angle is now a black and white website with a bold font and a simple interface that is mainly used for discreet musicians.
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It seems a bit fraudulent trying to figure out the appeal of Myspace when the current website interface looks like this.
The new Myspace interface is simplistic
But I tried!
With the resurgence of y2k culture, plus increasingly addictive social media worries, and Elon Musk’s apparent takeover of Twitter, I thought it would be a great time to get back on the OG social network.
Unfortunately, what I’ve learned from my week trying to master Myspace is that the site is really only for underground musicians. It’s easy to find new music or read about the latest feats of stranded actors, but other than that, there’s not much to do.
There is no way to discover friends unless you log into Facebook. And even if you try to search for people, an empty photo appears.
I even tried searching for iconic posts by Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Jeffree Star, Ke$ha, and other celebrities who actively used Myspace. But each time, a profile with little or no posts or photos was created.
The lack of photos and messages is because in 2019 the company lost most of its user-uploaded data when it changed servers.
Every day I would log onto Myspace, ready to read articles about random artists. But instead, I’ve found that the people who run Myspace (about 150 employees) rarely update the site with new information.
For example, an article about a musician called Bikini Kill going on tour had been at the top of the “featured” page for over two months.
I could rank my top eight friends if I had any, or I could find random users and connect with them, but few active users seem to post more.
His sole purpose has become musical. But even to listen to or discover music, it’s dead.
I tried to find the most popular songs on Myspace and came across a “mix”, i.e. playlists created by the platform. There was a mix available for some music genres, but like most things on the site, it was very outdated.
Here is their list of the best pop songs.
1. Black Widow – Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora
2. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
3. Bang Bang – Ariana Grande, Jessie J, Niki Minaj
4. Don’t Tell Them – Jeremih
5. Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
So what happened to this once booming website of people with crazy haircuts and piercings?
In 2005, News Corp, founded by Rupert Murdoch, bought Myspace for $580 million and reportedly told the website’s management that nothing would change in the acquisition.
“The reality was that over time corporate policies crept in,” said Sean Percival, the former vice president of online marketing for Myspace. The Guardian. “Lawyers came in, accountants. Everything happened. Instead of being this nimble, fast sports car, they started getting slow.”
With a new parent company that seemed to operate as an overprotective gatekeeper, it was hard for the site to do anything. Also, there was no clear direction for the site.
Meanwhile, as Myspace spun around trying to figure out what to do, Facebook grew in popularity.
Ultimately, in 2010, it was clear that Myspace wasn’t going to last much longer. In 2011, the site was sold to Specific Media for an undisclosed sum. Then in 2016, it was sold to Time Inc. with its parent company. In 2018, Meredith Corporation purchased Time Inc. thus acquiring Myspace.
Giving credit where credit is due, there are a few things Myspace does well. The first being that it looks more authentic than Instagram or Facebook these days.
Although Myspace has seen its fair share of acquisitions and divorces from the parent company, it apparently does not succumb to the ad-heavy interface that Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok do.
Its simplicity makes it relatively easy to use, and the lack of ads in front is refreshing.
I think it’s fair to say that most people yearn for a social media app that feels authentic. While I hoped Myspace might be, it’s strayed so far from its beginnings that it’s hard to imagine it resurrecting.
We have Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music and more to listen to our favorite artists and discover new music. We have Instagram to show our photos. We have Facebook to connect with old friends. And we have TikTok to watch fun videos from around the world.
I could see Myspace having a resurgence if they went from random musicians to a nostalgic wonderland of the early 2000s. But if not, I’m afraid Myspace is a lost cause.
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