To start with some stats, as of May 2009 Facebook leads the way with almost twice as many unique users as Myspace (113 million vs 57 million). Despite all of the press that Twitter receives, it is still way below both in terms of unique visitors with 20 million (this may not include those using Twitter through API clients).
Myspace has two sides to its personality. This is less a case of Jekyll and Hyde than Jekyll and Jekyll as they are both good sides. One is that of a great social networking site. The other is that of a user generated media library, containing artist pages & music videos and which is an amazing musical resource. But Last.fm and Spotify are good music resources and Facebook and Twitter are good social networks. This maybe Myspace’s problem.
The Awesome bits:
By far the better monetisation strategy
Mtspace is owned by Newscorp International and as such has a good monetisation strategy in place. There is plenty of banner ad space as well as Google ads and although this is not a good thing from a user perspective, for Myspace it is their revenue source. This is at a time when Facebook is desperately experimenting with ways in which to make money (ahem Beacon anyoone?) and Twitter appears to have no coherent monetisation strategy.
Myspace looks really good. The layout and user journey is intuitive and in my opinion it looks better than the others. The site allows corporate take overs of its homepage such as the one in place at present (Terminator Salvation: see below)
IMO Myspace is THE place to discover new music. Not record company new music but real, ear to the ground, mate of a mate of a mates band music. Even if you don’t find bands on Myspace though, it is a reference hub for recommending bands to friends. Content includes; Music videos, artist pages, blogs and forums which provides more than enough reasons to not only become a Myspace user, but to also keep on using it.
Finding new friends is easier than Facebook and not as spammy as Twitter. It provides the option to approve friends or to not even allow requests from certain users (bands) to avoid. The ‘browse’ functionality let you drill down exactly who you’d like to befriend, by location, age, sex. If you;re a band in Oxford, you can find people in Oxford and invite them to be friends and keep them updated with events and gigs.
The Myspace site is available via mobile on iPhone, Blackberry & Android). The major downer on this is that you can’t stream the music itself. They need to allow this soon as Last.fm and already have a mobile listening app and Spotify have one being demo’d right now.
Myspace will recognise your IP address and direct you to your local site which for me is Myspace UK. Once in the site users have fully customisable profile pages which just aren’t matched by Facebook and Twitter and profiles can also include apps and widgets (yes Facebook can do this too).
The Not so Awesome Bits
Myspace has all the functionality to allow sharing but it’s just not as clean and easy as Twitter and Facebook. Facebook became easier when they mimicked the Twitter ‘status bar’ format. Arguablely the best thing about Twitter is its ease of sharing and discovering new content. With all that new music waiting to be discovered, Myspace really should be as easy.
Site pages have a lot of noise. Its not as clean and commercially untainted as FB, Linked and Twitter what with all those ad’s blaring out at you. Users might be used to this on Myspace but the amount of space taken up by ads makes the pages cluttered and disorganised.
…we forget. Users don’t have to choose between Myspace OR Facebook OR Twitter. They all have different offerings and USP’s. Yes Facebook will have more users because it is a communication tool used by students and others through out the world. Myspace isn’t for communication, its for music and all that this involves. Its real social media rather than social networking.
Recommendations to Myspace:
Myspace needs to decide whether it is a social network OR a music and video resource. It can be both but needs to split them apart whilst still keeping them linked. Recommend using a landing portal before you enter the site where users can choose between ‘Socialise Space’ or ‘Music Space’. Socialise Space takes you to the social networking site that allows all the functionality of Twitter. You can share content, discuss gigs and events and discover new music. Read blogs or chat on forums. This conversation would link through to the content site and vice versa. This would involve logging in, in order to participate.
‘Listen & view’ portal leads you to the actual content on Myspace and would look much like the existing site, with the same content. This would be an open access site withy no need to login. Users can listen to all music and watch videos.