MySpace’s revamped site is now in beta testing and is expected to roll out later this year as the firm attempts to regain ground in the social media market. According to the owners of Specific Media, which bought the struggling service from News Corp last year, the new site will focus on the firm’s roots as a music social network. MySpace is not the only company attempting to stage a turnaround in fortunes, amid reports that social news reader app Digg could re-launch in August, just weeks after it was bought by Betaworks for just USD500,000.
MySpace is partnering with music artist Justin Timberlake to boost its profile as it tries to re-model itself as a music discovery platform and demonstrate its value to existing and emerging artists that give the service its life blood. The firm is looking to become a publicity hub for artists, a strategy that reverses an unpopular update in 2010 that removed music and gig marketing features. MySpace’s fall from grace is well-documented but its music division remains strong, boasting 42m tracks on its books, around double the number of streaming service Spotify.
Hopes for resurgence in MySpace’s fortunes are growing after claims that the firm’s December update, which included Twitter and Facebook integration as well as a new song player feature, reportedly boosted sign-ups from “zero” to 40,000 per day. The figures suggest there is still demand for the product, which has steadily lost users since Facebook started capturing the attention of the mainstream in 2008. Bought for USD580m in 2005 at the summit of its success, new owner News Corp was forced to parcel the firm off to Specific Media at a galling USD515m loss after a drawn-out battle to find a buyer last year.
Nevertheless MySpace’s road to recovery remains a difficult one. The majority of bands straddle their social media profiles across the likes of Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Spotify, and MySpace will need to prove its relevance in an increasingly crowed space. Analysts remain sceptical, with some arguing that the firm should have made the move years ago and that it will be unable to gain ground.
Meanwhile Digg’s new owners are also looking to turn around the service’s fortunes with a swift restructure of the site. One of the first social sharing platforms and once a powerful referral site, Digg’s fortunes began to plummet in mid-2010 after an unsuccessful revamp of its service drove away its most committed users in their thousands and its users have been falling ever since. comScore estimates Digg lost 30% of its audience in one month alone. It seems the site has learnt its lessons and is crowdsourcing ideas for its re-structure from users at rethinkdigg.com. Digg says it is re-building its brand “from scratch” in less than two months.
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