Myspace has been given a facelift aimed at making music more discoverable. The new design currently features a giant image of investor and pop star Justin Timberlake on its homepage – Timberlake is relaunching his music career at the same time.
The move, which smacks of a kind of social megalomania that would make Lady Gaga proud, nevertheless reveals what is an artful reconstruction of a social network that at one point was on the way to eclipsing Facebook entirely.
It was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2005 for US$580m and amidst a litany of near disasters, management reshuffles, several redesigns and infighting its fortunes declined.
In 2011 Timberlake and Specific Media Group came to the rescue and acquired Myspace for US$35m.
The new redesign is eerily reminiscent of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating design, with screens moving left to right, giant fonts and lots of space.
Could the new Myspace be an attempt at a Spotify or Deezer killer?
However, the meat and potatoes of the design is a media player that stretches along the bottom of the page.
The focus here is music discovery and users can use the “ribbon” to search for tracks, share tracks and manage their playlists.
You get the sense from the music discovery function that Myspace is returning less as a social network that would compete with Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Bebo, but actually one that has music sharing services like Spotify and Deezer in its iron sights.
Music search on first glance is artfully designed and fast, but the real test will be in terms of social integration.
You can sign in with social addresses like Facebook, for example, but until more friends start using it it’s hard to gauge just how successful it will be as a potential Spotify or Deezer killer.
Needless to say the suited and booted Justin Timberlake single promo on the front page may help with an option to buy the single on iTunes may help to get the ball rolling.
Ultimately if Myspace can actually recapture that initial spark of magic as a place to discover new artists and celebrate existing ones it actually may just have that chance to break through that has proven elusive since those halcyon days back in 2005.