Technology

MySpace undergoes another facelift

  • 25 September 2012
  • From the section Technology
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Justin Timberlake
Image caption Can Justin Timberlake breathe new life into MySpace?

Ailing social network MySpace has announced its fourth major redesign as it seeks to regain relevance in the face of falling numbers.

The site, now part-owned by Justin Timberlake, aims to focus more on music and offer deeper integration with Facebook and Twitter.

But it faces stiff competition from online platforms offering to connect artists and fans.

According to measurement firm comScore, the MySpace audience is 54 million.

This is down from hundreds of millions at its peak in 2005.

A message on the website announced the redesign: "We're hard at work building the new MySpace, entirely from scratch."

"But we're staying true to our roots in one important way - empowering people to express themselves however they want," the message continued.

It called on fans to join "our brand new community" and offered a sneak preview of the redesign.

Those interested in joining were asked to leave an email contact and "expect an invite soon".

The new-look MySpace says it aims to put music at the heart. Users can control audio content from a navigation panel and pair photograph albums with playlists in a kind of social media mix tape to mark any occasion.

A Discover tab within the navigation panel will offer access to trending artists, music, mixes, radio, videos, news, and forthcoming concerts. The items can be dragged into personal folders.

There is also an emphasis on what's called Artist Pages, with the promise of lots of tracks, albums and videos.

Band platform

MySpace was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire in 2005.

It paid $580m (£361m) for the social network but users and advertisers left the site for rival social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The site underwent a major makeover in 2010, rebranding itself as a "social entertainment site".

But it was not enough and in June 2011, News Corp sold it to online advertiser Specific Media at a huge loss.

A further rebrand after the sale promised it would become "the number one online community music destination".

Music and media analyst Mark Mulligan said he thought this latest rebrand was the "deepest" yet.

"At its peak, MySpace was a trailblazer for bringing together fans and artists but it faces stiff competition from sites such as TopSpin and Pledge Music which offer artists tools to establish relationships with fans," he said.

"It can't just do what they used to do even if they do it better," he said.

"It has to offer artists a reason why they would go there rather than on Facebook. It needs to become a social platform for bands and not just an alternative to Facebook," he said.

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