Copyrights to music by every artist on the planet
and the personal information of millions of users
sold for a pennies on the dollar.
I very much enjoyed the news that Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp recently sold myspace.com for less than one-tenth what they paid for it, losing more than half a billion dollars on the deal. Think about it this way: Even though NewsCorp owned copyrights to half a dozen songs by every musician on earth, and could advertize to, and collect data from millions of users, not only could they not make money, they took a 500 million dollar bath.
In fact, all of those musicians, myself included, actually drove people away from myspace.com, and towards fecebook.com, with our constant barrage of self-promotional “comments” and “friend requests.” While my weird music has not made me any money, I’m quite proud that my efforts cost Rupert Murdoch half a billion.
It really didn’t take a genius to know that Rupert Murdoch overpaid for myspace.com, and that “the bloom was off the vine” as they say, even then. Everyone was already migrating to facebook.com, and online advertizing really hasn’t been that effective anywhere. So, the value of these social networking sites remains mostly speculative, and fads pass quickly. This one took 500 million dollars of Rupert Murdoch’s money, with it.
Anyone remember MP3.com? They imploded back in 2000, but they did a lot of things right for musicians, and cultivated a lively online community. If you were one of the few people with a fast internet connection back then, MP3.com held a vast collection of music, of all styles, from around the world, and offered lots of ways to access it. Musicians used it to find other musicians with enough in common to create online “scenes” and coordinate tours and gigs. I don’t think any site has matched MP3.com for musicians since then, but myspace.com could.
Most musicians still use their myspace.com site. It’s free, makes it easy for anyone to access all of your relevant information, as well as sample your music. I haven’t updated mine in years, but you can still hear:
Several cuts from: my 2006 CD Handmade at www.myspace.com/tincanluminary
Episodes from my 1995-8 TV series, Nukebusters TV, currently in resurgence on Access Humboldt, and in Pakistan, at www.myspace.com/nukebusterstv
Other than artists and musicians, myspace.com has become kind of a ghetto. Real estate developers know that artists can turn a ghetto int a che-che neighborhood ripe for gentrification. I think myspace.com should work that angle, and do more to serve the needs of artists and musicians.
Maybe myspace.com should incorporate a “Pandora” like feature that sources all of the music at myspace.com. MP3.com gave musicians lots of opportunities to communicate with each other in groups, and lots of opportunities to work together to promote each others music. If you liked one band, MP3.com would also recommend other bands based on your taste. Just some suggestions for the new owners of myspace.com. If the new owners take my advice and shift the focus of myspace.com to serve the artists who most heavily rely on the site, I’ll bet myspace.com could lose even more money in the future.