Is MySpace finally making a comeback? Recent numbers indicate it's possible.
Many of us have a MySpace account, but typically don't use it because we're either floating with the majority of the Internet on Facebook, slinging 140 characters on Twitter, or using some other social means to chat about the weather or the dog's latest trick. Heck, there's even a social "network" on cable TV, called YouToo, that allows users to post video and text messages directly to the screen during re-runs of Batman, The X-Files and other shows.
But now there seems to be something going on with MySpace. While the social network won't release official numbers until later on Monday, Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook told the New York Times that MySpace went from zero signups per day to around 40,000 per day, averaging around 1 million new members since the MySpace "reboot" in December 2011.
Irvine, CA-based Specific Media, along with Justin Timberlake, acquired MySpace from News Corp. in June 2011 for $35 million, with the latter company taking a minority equity stake in Specific Media as part of the agreement. Since the acquisition, Timberlake and Specific Media have worked to "reinvent" MySpace (again) as a music and entertainment hub, and finally introduced a music player in December.
comScore said last week that monthly traffic on MySpace actually rose in January, up 4-percent to 25.1 million users, the first increase in almost a year. Yet overall the social website was still down almost a quarter from when Timberlake and Specific Media took over in June. Still, at least is appears that MySpace is heading in the right direction.
So what is MySpace finally doing right? Vanderhook believes part of its new success stems from its integration with Facebook and Twitter. It also a has a rather large library of music thanks to full licensing deals made with thousands of record labels. Throw in "untold numbers" of unsigned acts, MySpace offers around 42 million tracks, beating out Rhapsody, Spotify and other music services.
Looking ahead, MySpace is about to enter a new frontier: HDTV. During Panasonic's press conference at CES 2012, Justin Timberlake introduced MySpace TV, an app for Panasonic Vierra HDTVs that, like YouToo, allows viewers to send messages directly to TV shows in real-time. Users will be able to communicate using mobile apps and likely through the MySpace website itself.
"We're ready to take television and entertainment to the next step by upgrading it to the social networking experience," Timberlake said at the press conference. "Why text or email your friends to talk about your favorite programs after they've aired when you could be sharing the experience with real-time interactivity from anywhere across the globe?"
"As the plot of your favorite drama unfolds, the joke of your favorite SNL character plays, or even the last second shot of your favorite team swishes the net, we're giving you the opportunity to connect your friends to your moments as they're actually occurring," Timberlake added. "This is the evolution of one of our greatest inventions, the television. And, we no longer have to crowd around the same one to experience it together."
Plans for MySpace TV include movies, news, sports, and reality programming.