By Barry Levine / Mobile Tech Today. Updated February 13, 2012.
Just when you -- and your marketing department -- thought social networking had settled into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, the category is showing that it is constantly evolving. One site with a familiar name has gained a million new users in the last month -- Myspace.
On Monday, the venerable social networking site announced that it had obtained more than 1 million new sign-ups in the last 30 days, directly resulting from the availability of its Myspace Music Player. The Player, the company said, is leading to more than 40,000 new registrations each day.
The new player features what the company described as the world's largest online catalogue of free music, with 42 million songs. It also has unlimited, on-demand listening, personalized radio, an advanced recommendation engine, and easy integration with another familiar name -- Facebook.
CEO Tim Vanderhook said in a statement that the influx of new members attests to "strong momentum and dramatic change for Myspace," adding that users are "getting excited" again about the site. In addition to the million new members, comScore reports that the site showed a 4 percent increase in traffic in January, the first increase in nearly 12 months.
While Myspace was once the leading social networking site -- at a time when the term "social networking" was barely known -- it was eclipsed by Facebook and others, and now, under new management, it seeks to become what the company describes as a "highly personalized experience around entertainment and connecting people to the music, TV, movies, and games that they love."
Sold for $35 Million
In January, Myspace announced it had signed a deal with Panasonic for Myspace TV, which allows for music videos and TV shows to be shared and commented upon. The deal will place a Myspace app into connected Panasonic Viera HDTVs so that users can stream music and video while chatting in virtual viewing parties.
At its peak in 2008, Myspace was attracting over 75 million unique visitors each month, but then it slid rapidly downward as many users moved to Facebook. In July of 2010, comScore had reported that the site lost more than half of its monthly visitors in the previous twelve months. By the summer of 2011, it was down to 33 million and rapidly losing users.
In June of 2011, Vanderhook and his brother Chris, owners of the advertising firm Specific Media, joined with singer/actor Justin Timberlake to buy the site at a bargain price from its owners, News Corp. The media conglomerate had purchased the site for $580 million in 2005, but let it go for $35 million in cash and stock options. Reportedly, News Corp. had been asking for $100 million.
Although the new owners appear to have accelerated Myspace's transformation, the move toward making it an entertainment hub, and integrating it with Facebook and other partners, actually began under News Corp.