If you’ve been wondering what happen to the Justin Timberlake that seemed on his way to become the next Michael Jackson, I would suggests that those years absence coincides with the disappearance MySpace from on top of the social network world.
The fact of the matter is that Timberlake has been busy working on the reemergence of MySpace and MySpace has been working Justin. The combination sparked by Timberlake’s leadership might be just the winning formula that sparks a successful comeback.
The long-beleaguered social network, announced plans Monday for a site-wide redesign that will include a complete visual refresh.
Details of the new site were unveiled in a promotional video that previewed a drastically different, horizontally oriented user interface and a continued emphasis on music, one of the site’s strong points in its nearly 10-year existence.
The brief unveiling comes more than a year after News Corp. (the parent company of AllThingsD and FoxNews.com) sold Myspace at a half-a-billion-dollar loss to Specific media for $35 million, after suffering through years of a flagging user base, in sharp contrast to the skyrocketing success of Facebook, presently the world’s largest social networking site.
Redesigns are not new to Myspace’s efforts to kickstart its site’s activity. Last year, Specific media made the rounds to advertisers to make the case for Myspace, billing the site as the “#1 online community music destination,” relying heavily on the existing content rights agreements that it had with the four major record labels. Specific went so far as to call Myspace the “Hulu of music.”
In 2010, there was another attempt to revive the site with then-CEO Mike Jones at the helm; back then, the aim was to create a “social entertainment site” aimed at Gen-Y, Web-savvy users.
The redesign was largely ignored by the crowd the company was targeting; News Corp. sold less than a year after re-launch.
Late on Monday night Timberlake tweeted: “THIS IS MYSPACE vimeo.com/myspace/the-ne…#NEWMYSPACE.”
The link took his followers to a preview video the New My Space, which brings an entirely new design to the outdated social network. The video shows a very clean looking interface, similar to Pinterest in design, with lots of white space and photos, with pages that now scroll horizontally rather than vertically.
The video also reveals that users can now use MySpace, one of the original key social networks, to connect to the networks that overtook it, including Facebook and Twitter. It appears you can bring over your photos and videos to the service, update your Facebook and Twitter statuses right from the new MySpace, as well as find your friends from those other services.
There is also a heavy music component, with radio and playlist sharing. The demo highlights that MySpace is a great way for musical artists, like Timberlake, to stay in touch with fans. One portion shows him sharing his new song with some of his biggest fans.
The demo looks slick and very, very attractive, but is it too late for MySpace to capture the hearts and clicks of social media users?
“It takes more for a social network to succeed than a pretty face, it needs faces to populate it,” Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. “Given the traction Facebook has with consumers and the center of gravity it has achieved, MySpace would have to offer a very compelling reason to get users who have abandoned the site to return and entice new users.”
The new.myspace.com site doesn’t reveal when the site will be available to the public. Anyone can sign up for an invite to the site and the company promises to send an “invite very soon.”
We’ll see if the leadership of Justin Timberlake, one of the site’s major backers, can help with the renewed push into emphasizing music as the site’s platform.