Chris DeWolfe, former chief executive at the original Myspace just publicly blamed Rupert Murdoch, who purchased Myspace in 2005 for $580 million and sold it a year-and-a-half later for $30 million, for the old company’s demise. Couple that with the recent news revelation that the latest iteration of Myspace has already laid off 5 percent of its staff – which amounts to roughly 300 employees (great, more piranhas in the tank), and it’s clear that the new old new media company has hit a rough patch. Of course, Maker Studios recently laid off numerous members of their staff and they appear to be thriving – so consolidation isn’t always negative. Sometimes it’s about refocusing and strengthening the core group. But I don’t think that’s the case with Myspace. Despite having name recognition and a strong pedigree in the form of celebrity backer Justin Timberlake, the Myspace ship is going down like the Titanic 2.0 (due to a recent maturity spurt I sensibly avoided using the far more misogynistic phrase “going down like your mom on your dad’s birthday,” so major props for me). Accuse me of sorcery and divination if you wish, but the new Myspace is doomed and here are five reasons why:
5. Myspace Doesn’t Support Internet Explorer
4. Myspace is a Parody Word Now
Imagine if someone said they were going to bring back “the Macarena.” “Macarena 2.0 is going to be such the new dance craze,” they’d say. You’d laugh, and rightfully so. Certain pop culture aspects – both people and brands – achieve so much infamy for one reason or another that they begin to become a parody of themselves. Sure Robert Downey Jr. was able to overcome his drug association, but he was never a premier name before. MySpace, like the Macarena, was the zenith of popularity for a moment in time. And that time is loooooooooong since over.
3. Poor Advertising Strategy
When was the last time you saw an ad about Myspace? It was probably this ill-received monstrosity. Myspace’s brand has diminished to the point where it isn’t a front of mind consideration (and I’m in the goddamned Myspace-watching business). It doesn’t have the brand power of a Coke or a Nike, where you essentially can’t go a day without seeing something related to those brands in one form or another. Myspace, to my mind, announced it was attached to Timberlake, produced one god-awful commercial that appealed only to Madison Ave. progressive hipsters and then dropped the f**k off the planet. I may not have gotten a degree in advertising (oh wait, yes I did), but that isn’t exactly a great way to reinstall brand recognition.
2. Myspace Hasn’t Offered A Compelling Reason For Us To Switch Loyalties
Myspace has decided to push its focus into becoming a hub for indie musicians. For us non-musicians though, we can either spend valuable hours browsing band pages hoping to find a diamond in the rough, or we can just go the bullshit hipster route and look up some good stuff on Pitchfork. Maybe if there was something really innovative – like free enrollment in a “Cotton Candy of the Month” club or something when I sign up for Myspace (again!), but otherwise, sell it to the Marines, sister (that’s still a cool phrase, right?).
1. Facebook is Declining in Popularity
In October, The Huffington Post reported a 19 percent decline in Facebook’s popularity with teens over the span of a year. Facebook was N’Sync to MySpace’s Backstreet Boys (sorry Timberlake). And that declining user base isn’t being refocused into a single entity that someone like Myspace could conceivably inherit – it’s being diminished into niche new media applications like Tumblr and 4chan. Think how major television networks are losing market share to cable television or … you know, YouTube. If there isn’t enough food for the big shark in the ocean to survive, the sharks that aspire to take its place aren’t going survive either.