The Cloud Eclipse Of MySpace
I remember a time, not three years ago, when a band was measured and judged primarily by the number of views and – more importantly – plays that they had managed to amass on MySpace. This was after the time, of course, when bands were measured solely on the merits of their musical ability, but that’s neither here nor there. Way back in 2009, if a band had 1 million plays on MySpace, you could bet that that band would soon be scooped up by an indie label trying to find the industry’s next social-media-driven up-and-comer.
But MySpace has come and gone. There are new metrics for statistically judging a band’s reach, such as the nearly indecipherable Facebook “InSights” and Twitter “Analytics.” Neither Facebook nor Twitter, however, allows a band to easily host its music. Therefore, it is clear that what replaced the need for MySpace in terms of the music industry was not either of those immensely popular social networking sites, but rather the advent of streamable music via the cloud.
As of now, cloud-streaming services have all but eclipsed the former ubiquitous MySpace as the public’s main access to free streaming music online. Spotify and Pandora are the most obvious examples, but even sites like SoundCloud and HypeMachine offer listners a much more interesting experience than they could have ever hoped for on the sloppy, clunky, unmanageable MySpace. These new sites all offer users a way to interact in real time with other users and the streaming platform itself.
Where MySpace had only basic controls and a limited scope, Pandora offers users the ability to hear music they would not normally have sought out. Taking this one step further into the interactive realm, Spotify allows users to publicly post to their other social media in order to expose friends to the bands and songs that they are listening. And, with cloud services like SoundCloud and HypeMachine, users can interact with each other and artists by commenting and liking at points throughout each song, as well as posting publicly on social media.
It is no wonder MySpace has been unable to hold their reign as tastemakers. The service simply could not keep up with the ever-advancing industry that it helped pioneer. The only surprising part is that, while MySpace provided a platform for users to both listen to music and form a social network, no site since has been able to completely integrate those two ideas. Our social media and media consumption have become more compartmentalized since the days of MySpace, rather than more mainstreamed, which is the opposite of what one would expect given MySpace’s swift and certain decline.
By Jacob Hyman