There’s a grim pleasure to be had from wandering through old MySpace profiles. There are millions and millions of them – ugly looking pages plastered with Arctic Monkeys photos and Jessica Simpson shout outs. All frozen sometime in 2008 – like a digital Pompeii.
It’s strangely satisfying to see how something so mighty could have collapsed so dramatically. Because in 2008, MySpace was the daddy; one of the world’s most popular websites with 75.9 million unique visits each month. Three years earlier it had been bought by News International for a head spinning $580 million.
Three years later, in 2011, it would be flogged for just $38 million. With Facebook nicking its social media crown, visitor numbers fell off a cliff. It transformed MySpace from brash Internet success story to hilarious Internet joke.
But while the world chuckled, another sound could be heard coming from beneath the MySpace wastelands. It was the banging and clanking of digital machinery as Justin Timberlake, the public face of the new venture, began to rebuild the empire.
The new version of MySpace – which is now called MySpace (can you see what they did there?) – has just opened its doors to the Internet hordes. And the mad thing is – it’s actually pretty good.
The first thing that strikes you is how clean the design looks when compared to the crazy clutter of the old site. And the focus is now heavily on the music and much less on posting pics of dogs in sombreros and that.
At the bottom of the page you have a music player which lets you add tracks and put together mixes. It’s also good at throwing up links to interesting bands similar to the ones you like.
What takes a bit of getting used to is the pages move horizontally – as if designed to be swiped on a tablet rather than used on a desktop. The other weird thing is that you’ll need to start your profile from scratch, there’s no adding your old friends or pics.
The initial signs are that the new look MySpace has managed to reverse the decline. It has reported to be adding a million extra users each month. Whether this is a Lazarus-like comeback or merely a blip remains to be seen, but at least it should stop the sniggers.