Yep, it’s back. And you know what? It’s kind of awesome.
Just in case you’ve been hiding underground (like the Gotham cops in Batman) and for some reason HAVEN’T heard, I’ll explain. Justin Timberlake bought old Myspace (which was apparently still around) with a little help from his friends. He blew the cobwebs off, totally restructured it from the ground up and relaunched it. Essentially all Timberlake bought was the name: it’s not much like the old Myspace, and it doesn’t try to be, so I’m not going to bother comparing the two. I was curious, so I sent for an invite a couple of weeks ago (the site isn’t fully launched yet so I had to wait a little while). It came through today.
The first thing that struck me is how clean and polished it is. It’s pretty sweet to use. But what about the lack of a search bar? I mean, you idiots Myspace, creating an amazing website with access to the world’s music but forgetting a search bar!! Oh, wait-
Type anywhere and it’ll automatically search for what you’re looking for. Click and drag songs into playlists and share them. ‘Connect’ with songs and artists you love and (I’m guessing) improve your recommendations. Gliding sideways across your profile page is a neat idea and there’s very much an emphasis on aesthetics- as with all social networks you put up your profile pic, but on top of this you can upload a high-res cover image (and the shape isn’t as awkward as Facebook’s).
However, Myspace isn’t all looks. Whether it sinks or floats hinges on one thing: music. Myspace is, was, and will always be about music. I approached this element with some trepidation. I was honestly expecting it to either be limited to smaller, independent artists or for the library to be limited to 30 second sound bites. It would be too good to be true to be able to stream an extensive library with most of your favourite artists, right? Wrong. I’ll be honest, it’s like Spotify without the ads and with better playlisting features. It has everything from Muse to Hans Zimmer to Francoise Hardy. IT EVEN HAS THE BEATLES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! (only a couple of songs admittedly but that’s already better than Spotify and it took iTunes FOREVER to be able to start selling The Beatles). The only total omission that has come up in the past couple of hours is Adele, and that isn’t much of a surprise considering her history with streaming services. The attention to detail here is also impressive – the bios are pretty well-written and I found myself stuck reading up on The Beastie Boys for 20 mins. Some smaller bands I tried out didn’t have a bio, though my beloved Friendly Fires were given a paragraph or two (I was interested to see Myspace inform me that their listed themes include ‘cool and cocky’, ’empowering’ and ‘sex’. Really though?).
Videos aren’t quite so seamless- although it does contain mountains of music videos in its library, the website appears to be dragging its feet a little when it comes to playing them, and it took a couple of minutes to finally get one to start (this may be down to my connection speed rather than the site). Depending on the video, the quality is generally pretty good although some are a little stretched or pixellated, and there seems to be a very small delay. These problems are all pretty minor though, and you can add videos to mixes as well as songs.
I think you’ll have spotted a noticeable absence in this quick review- social stuff! I mean, it is a social network, after all. My problem is that, well, no-one else is here yet! So if you like the look of it, hop along and give it a go. The jury’s still out on whether it can compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter (although you can log in with either so you could argue they’re after integration rather than competition). We’ll just have to wait and see.