How do you remember MySpace?
Do you recall the nostalgically aesthetic internet page? Do you even remember it, or are you too young for that sort of thing? Back in the Wild West days of social media, there was a lot more going on than people think.
Myspace is remembered today as the old internet wonderland, where you could be anything you wanted. Your profile photos were taken with a real camera, and your perfectly curated theme song could be heard by every profile visitor. More than that, it was quite possibly the only major social network catering to music fans.
Point blank, it was probably the best platform we’ve ever had for music. Did Myspace steal Nexopia’s thunder in the wonder years of we’ve come to call our “emo phase,” or, was it the real place where that often regrettable subculture truly blossomed? It’s hard to say, but what’s clear is that it helped a subculture truly come into itself.
Emo isn’t the only culture to benefit from this musically-oriented social media platform. Apart from bands like The Used, Dashboard Confessional, and My Chemical Romance, indie bands could flourish in the places where emo could not. Famously, Arctic Monkeys built their following through Myspace before shattering sales numbers for records in the U.K.
Even indie rappers found their fans there, while metalheads discovered ways to combine genres. It became an essential tool for fans and artists to communicate. For all its musical wonder though, it sits largely unpopulated today as a relic of the new millennium. So, what happened? Why did Myspace fade into obscurity?
Facebook quickly swallowed up Myspace
The whimsy of decking your page out however you damn well pleased wasn’t enough to keep Myspace afloat. On April 19, 2008, Facebook officially overtook Myspace on the Alexa global site rankings (before becoming your favorite digital servant, Alexa was, and still is, the premier website traffic analyzer, and a subsidiary of Amazon).
The platform that was once reserved strictly for college students became an open space for people to connect beyond music. Facebook continued to evolve from there a space where developers could build applications for them. Myspace on the other hand was of its own design. But what it made up for in layout, it lacked in FarmVille.
On top of this, Myspace lacked spam filtration. Facebook rolled out messaging tools that were cleaner, safer, and less cluttered. Eventually an investigation into pornography on the site tarnished the reputation of Myspace amidst a mass exodus to Facebook.
Then-chair and CEO Rupert Murdoch was frustrated that the site never met expectations: As a distribution method for 20th Century Fox’s studio content. Ultimately, Myspace and its parent company was bought in 2016, and while it’s since rebranded itself as a social entertainment website, it may never be the same.
Myspace may have fallen far from what it was. Ultimately, it couldn’t compete with the more attractive and streamlined social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, it laid out how social networking should be, and did things for music some may never forget. So here’s to you, Myspace, and the wonderful rabbit hole of musical discovery you afforded fans for years.