Yesterday, Justin Timberlake, who is a co-owner of MySpace, tweeted a link to a sneak peek video for the soon to be released beta version of the new MySpace site, giving us a quick look at what to expect.
— Justin Timberlake(@jtimberlake) September 24, 2012
MySpace, which most of you will know, was the king of the social networking sites back before Facebook began its reign. The first pages of MySpace were set up in 2003 by co-founder Tom Anderson and fellow programmers and still to this day has a lot of daily users. In July 2005 MySpace was sold to News Corporation for $580 million and between 2005 and 2008 MySpace was the most visited social networking site in the world, surpassing Google as the most visited site in the US in June 2006. Then in 2008 Facebook started to gain ground over MySpace, and the site has been loosing ground ever since despite multiple site re-designs.
Looking at the video that was released yesterday I have to say that the new look of the site seems very impressive and fluid. The GUI (Guided User Interface) also seems very simple to navigate which is important for when you are trying to get potential new users to use the site. As far as a general feel of what the site is like from the video, it seems to be a pleasant mix of Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.
I haven’t used MySpace for well over 6 years now, so I am hoping that they can bring something fresh to the table. What I am hoping that they will do, is something similar to when Google+ was first available in the early beta stages in that the developers will listen to what users are saying about the site and add functionalities as they go. That was the main thing that really impressed me about Google+ in the early days and the site benefited massively by this as it gave you the feeling that you were helping to create the place alongside the devs. There are a lot of very different social networks to choose from at the moment, so we will just have to see how people will react to the new look for MySpace. You can see that music will be a huge influence on the design of the site which is going to appeal to a broad spectrum of people of all ages.
MySpace are building the site from the ground up and coding from scratch, so this has obviously been a pretty major undertaking. Here’s what they have to say about the new site:
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. So whether you’re a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we’d love for you to be a part of our brand new community.
It has a bit of a stigma to get over, but from the first impressions seen in the video it does look good. The main people who seem to be using MySpace currently though are from the US (34.6%) and India (12.3%). Usage in other countries is pretty minimal at the moment. The image below is the latest data provided by Alexa.
Note that the below look at the new MySpace site is based purely on the initial look at the video. There is no talking during the video so I am speculating on certain aspects of the GUI
Signing up and creating your profile is done in 3 easy steps. If you already have an existing (new) MySpace account, then you can simply sign in via Facebook or Twitter if you wish like many other sites out there.
Next step is where you upload your main profile image (5MB max) and write a short description about yourself. It has the same character limitations as Twitter in this regard as you can only use 140 characters. You can also set you profile to either be private or public here.
In the final signing up section, you are giving the option to connect your MySpace account to an existing Facebook or Twitter account so you can see what contacts you have on those sites may already be using MySpace, as well as recommending what music you may be interested in.
You can also import some of your existing photo albums, videos and playlists with you. That’s it. Now just hit Take me there.
The first thing you will notice is the Pinterest feel to the image layouts which looks nice. The site uses side-scrolling and seems really fluid and quick to respond.
The main navigation is on the left hand side and doesn’t seem too intrusive nor do the pages look over cluttered.
Clicking on the MySpace button at the bottom of the page will display your area as well as what some of your contacts are up to. You will also notice at the bottom of the screen that you can be playing a track or album whilst you are using the site.
The search functions also look very fluid and the search results react in real-time as you type just like Google’s Instant Search.
Hitting the Discover button at the bottom of the screen will let you know what’s currently trending on MySpace, which is similar to Google+’s Explore
Whilst on this page you can filter it via different subjects like, People, songs, mixes, video, radio or events. If you selected music in the trending topics to see what people are listening to or talking about, you are also able to further define the search filter by, emerging, high rotation or genre. You can then select one of these songs and drag-n-drop it into your own personal area to listen to later.
Hitting the Event button under Discover will let you know what gigs are happening in your area and how much tickets are.
Click on the MySpace button at the bottom to get back to your main profile page and then select Connections, will show you all of your contacts/ artists you follow.
You can then select one to get a more detailed look at them (in the video example it’s Justin Timberlake’s profile)
Here you can check out their latest tracks and album’s here. You can also see in the screen shot that there is a Shop button, where you will be able to purchase their stuff (music/merch/tickets perhaps?). Whether this just links to their outside site or you are able to purchase goods within MySpace isn’t shown, but this could be a fantastic way for unknown artists to get out there and sell their stuff without having to rely and be tied down to a record label that would take a vast chuck of their earnings. That last bit is just speculation by me and my dislike for the big record labels in general
You can also check out their music catalogue to get an overview of their stuff, or filter for a more refined look such as their albums. You can also see where the Top Fans are located, the most influential referrer to their or your stuff as well as seeing if your or their audience is mainly male or female and what percentage.
If this is your page and you want to message your fans, then just simply select Message top fans on the left and post something. There doesn’t seem to be a 140 char limit here unlike elsewhere when posting.
So, can MySpace bring the sexy back? Honestly, after having looked over the video quite a few times at the navigation, ease of use, feel and fluidity and what it actually has to offer, I’d say that the devs have done a great job and could very well attract a lot of people. However, until we can actually get a hands on look to see how it works in person then we will just have to wait and see. If you want to sign up for the beat that will be coming out soon, then go here and leave your email address.
Here is the official first look video that was posted yesterday: