The Crunch: As the website that ushered in the social networking phenomenon, Myspace has always been about connection — especially when it came to music. Since it was founded in 2003, Myspace has been a tool for musicians everywhere to share their music and develop a loyal following. The site is even responsible for the discovery of such stars as Adele and Sean Kingston. And throughout its evolution and redesign, Myspace has stuck closely to its musical roots by continuing to provide artists with a responsive, connected platform to be heard.
Founded in 2003, Myspace was a pioneer in social networking and its co-founder, Tom Anderson, was the first digital friend of an entire online generation. Many of us remember fretting over the arrangement of our Top 8 friends list and updating our profiles to reflect our latest interests and states of mind. The site had many features that were ahead of their time, like messaging and personal blogs, but what really differentiated Myspace — even in the early days — was its seamless integration of music.
Beyond embedding a song or playlist in a profile, Myspace enabled budding musicians to upload their music and share it with others easily. It was revolutionary for local artists trying to get their music heard, and the socially connected platform allowed them to build relationships with listeners — turning many into fans. Myspace was a destination for everyone, but it became a boon for the music industry, as it gave independent, unsigned artists access to a worldwide audience for the first time.
Over time, other social networks launched and surpassed Myspace, leading to a good bit of soul-searching by the company. In 2012, Myspace re-launched as a platform that harkened back to those early artistic roots.
With a commitment to artists, musicians, and content creators, Myspace has transformed itself from a standard social media site into a sleekly designed destination for audiophiles and appreciators of all types, and it continues to build on its unique ability to help artists hone and benefit from their craft.
A History of Helping Artists Grow Fan Bases and Get Discovered
Before Myspace debuted, the process of developing a following was incredibly labor intensive for a musician. It involved posting flyers, playing shows, and getting demos into the hands of as many people as possible, hoping they would connect with your music.
Getting discovered by a major record label or producer was an even longer shot, as you still had to build up enough of a reputation to gain their attention — and even then it took a certain amount of luck. But Myspace democratized music in a way that hadn’t been seen before.
Musicians began to post songs, EPs, and entire albums to Myspace, showcasing their talents to a wider audience. The platform encouraged engagement with followers well before it became a standard practice across industries and helped artists share content through blogs, videos, and feed updates.
All of those capabilities were ahead of their time, as they are the same strategies used to build a social media following today. And while many artists found a level of success on Myspace locally, some went on to become global stars.
After uploading three demos to Myspace, including her first song, “Hometown Glory,” Adele built a following and was discovered by a record label in London. Now a 15-time Grammy winner — and counting — Adele has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and become a global phenomenon.
But she wasn’t an anomaly, Myspace helped launch the careers of artists like Sean Kingston, Owl City, and the Arctic Monkeys, among others. And the tools those artists used to share music and build a following still exist on Myspace today, waiting for new artists and creators to add their names to the illustrious list of Myspace beneficiaries.
Curating a Library of 53 Million Songs From 14.2 Million Musicians
Today, musicians are typically given few options when it comes to promoting and selling their music — many being split-revenue situations with platforms like iTunes or Google Play. But for uploading and sharing music, Myspace was the original promotional tool for artists.
More than 14 million artists have contributed to a library of 53 million songs, and the vast majority of those are from unsigned artists promoting their music. Through Myspace, anyone can create a profile and upload their original music for visitors to stream for free. In fact, even with new sites and audio platforms popping up, Myspace remains one of the top websites for music streaming.
The interface makes it easy for users to like, share, or add a song to a playlist, which, ultimately, can lead to more exposure for musicians. And just having a dedicated place online to store songs can be a valuable resource for artists who need to quickly share their work with others or even embed music into their own website.
Myspace works for visitors trying to discover new music, as well, making it easy to browse local musicians or listen to a stream of popular music from various genres. With tools for artists and fans alike, the site has developed into a more streamlined version of itself by narrowing its focus and evolving. And that evolution is now evident in both its design and content.
Discovery Engine Adds Valuable Content to the Site’s Updated Design
In 2012, Myspace introduced a sleek redesign, welcoming users back to test it out — and revisit some old memories. Gone was the clutter of the original site, and in its place was a clean, side-scroll feed that elicited the feel and aesthetic of a real timeline.
Visitors were greeted with a new look, but were still connected with all of their photos and friends. The site immediately saw spikes in traffic as returning users flocked to view their memories — and, of course, share them as part of Throwback Thursday, the weekly tradition of posting photos from the past under the hashtag #TBT.
Myspace also introduced entertainment content to keep users informed about the latest news and a discovery engine to help them connect with new music. The site’s original content comes in the form of articles, Q&As, artist spotlights, and videos — like its Getting Nailed series in which celebrities and artists are interviewed while getting manicures.
The Myspace homepage is the central hub for all of that content, and displays news and commentary on current entertainment events — especially in the music world — and there are a variety of content categories to explore.
All of its content can be discovered through Myspace’s search engine that allows users to find content and local artists quickly. With the site’s tools, you can search for a punk band in your hometown or a blogger 1,000 miles away and connect with their work instantly.
Myspace Builds on the Musical Foundation that Made It Successful
Today, Myspace looks nothing like the version that launched in 2003, but it continues its history of artistic connection, helping artists host their music on the site and amass a following.
Budding musicians continue to leverage the platform to share music with new audiences through streamlined tools for uploading and streaming. Over the years, the site never lost its focus on providing a stage for artists, even while being at the center of some high-profile acquisitions. First, it was News Corp. purchasing Myspace in 2005, followed with the acquisition in 2011 by a group of investors led by Viant, which included Justin Timberlake. In 2016, Time Inc. acquired Viant.
Music was at the heart of Myspace very early on, and through challenges, sales, and even a redesign, that heart beats on.