First Look - Myspace
Like many others, I thought Myspace was dead and buried. Since Facebook overtook it in the Alexia ranking in 2008, the site has been considered only a distant memory. But not for much longer. The beaten down social network is on the rise again and this time it's packing a punch...
Firstly, the new site is stunning. With it's fullscreen display, large cover images and clean approach, the new design is the the first thing that attracts you to it. The decision to do away with the standard website approach really gives the site more of a full application feel. This is no doubt influenced by the huge rise in touch screen devices. You are able to change the cover photo to whatever appeals to your tastes and personality.
Myspace is, like many others, a single page application allowing for continues playback as you navigate the site. Docked at the bottom of the window is the menu bar. This seemed a weird choice at first, but makes a lot of sense as your eye is more focused on the content above. The menu bar contains all you need to move around the site and control what you're listening to. There is a playlist window which can be permanently docked, allowing you to see the current queue along with messages from friends.
There are a few problems I have with the design. One is that pages scroll horizontally. I like the idea, but the implementation is pretty jumpy and slow. Hopefully this will be fixed in time to come. The other is the lack of colour on artists music and video pages. I would like to see the cover photo incorporated into this pages somehow.
This is no longer a social feed about what you have been eating, where you've been on holiday or how cute your cat is. The focus of profiles is solely on the music. There is a field to update your "connections" with your latest activities, but keep it short as it's been restricted to 150 characters, a choice I welcome.
Personally, I really like profile pages. They keep things simple with the album art taking most of the users focus and encourages others to listen to the music you do. That is the point of a music social network. Everything you listen or watch is automatically added to your profile page, although you do have the option of keeping things private from people who aren't connect to you.
The life force of social networks are it's users, so connecting them together is vital. Myspace offers some handy tools to help do this. On each music page comes a list of "Top Fans" and "Similar Artists". The similar artists options have been accurate and useful so far. Another hand tool is when you hover over any profile picture, album art or video, you get a summary window popup telling you about the item. It's a really handy feature and cuts out having to navigate to each profile. The summary comes with an "affinity" rating between yourself and that item. This shows you how well your music taste overlaps with that item and is represented by two circle. The closer they are, the more compatible you are.
There seems to be a lot of content on the site already. I am yet to not find music or artists I have searched for and surprisingly there is a lot of newly release content the site. As far as I know, no price plan has been released, but I can't imagine this won't be far off.
To help you search all your favourite albums, songs or videos is the library. It is a list of all the things you love and is easily searchable. I would like to see an alternate layout option where you the album art of each song.
I am writing this article after using the new Myspace for a day, so I will mostly likely find some little bugs that bother me, but at this moment in time, I am very excited about the prospects of Myspace's relaunch. The old Myspace seemed to be social and music network hybrid, but I think Facebook has done it a favour. It can now focus entirely on the music and not worry about making social updates and organising events. I'm sure there will be some integration with Facebook, so hopefully they will leave it to them.
The content throughout the site really blew me away, and it should keep increasing the more people get invited to join. Visual the site is lovely. There are a few tweaks which need to be made here and there, but I am sure a lot of issues will be ironed out in the coming months. I have had very few technical problems throughout the day. A few times playback stopped but I think that was mostly down to my work machine taking a beating.
A key market for Myspace to hit will undoubtedly be mobile. Creating great apps for both phones and tablets is going to be incredibly important for Myspace as it tries to reel in all those people who left the site a almost 4 years ago. But I think the outlook is positive. I for one will be using the site in the foreseeable future.