The new version of Myspace…looks pretty good…
Read a breakdown of what we have seen after the jump.
Just in time for #smw12 (or even #notsmwldn) Myspace have launched a preview video of the new look social network plus sign up page with a promise that invites will be sent out in the near future. After watching the video a few times I’ve grabbed a few images and have broken down what you can expect to find once you have access.
Myspace to Twitter and Facebook – “Lets be friends”
At the very beginning it is obvious that the team at Myspace are not necessarily trying to compete in the traditional sense with the established players. Although you can bet that they’d like you to spend most of your time with them to help generate revenue. As these screen grab show you have the option to sign up with and link your Facebook and Twitter accounts. With Facebook you can transfer photos and it will analyse your data (most likely musicians who you have Liked) and populate your Myspace with relevant content.
The transferring of your “stuff” is key as this is a clear way for Myspace to be able to bring people over without feeling hassled into starting again. Unlike with Google+ where with your new profile you do have to start from scratch (yes I know Google+ is more than a social network).
New Look Profile
One description I have heard is that it looks like Pinterest on steroids, but I think I’d go even further than that. It looks and feels like a mix of all the best bits from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flipboard and the new Windows interfaces, even Spotify (and I think B@ TV may have something to say). It also has the look of a well designed tablet application or mobile digital magazine, something I’ll come onto later.
The background image (it also appears that you can select short video clips) is striking and immediately makes your profile stand out. Then the simple idea of taking the timeline concept and putting it horizontal immediately gives it a fresh look that users should enjoy using and visiting.
Music is the Key
The Myspace team have really honed in on what was the original versions key audience, music fans and the artists they love. No matter where you go when you are logged into the new Myspace the grey bar at the bottom of the screen goes with you. This bar contains the player so you will be able listen to tracks uninterrupted (the sound of IT managers crying out echos across the globe as another bandwidth sapping product is launched).
Mixes (see playlists) are also a key feature. Creating your own mixes, sharing them with your friends and being able to add photos to be shown alongside these mixes is clearly one of the main features that they are wanting people to use on a daily basis. The adding of personal memories and creating an emotional response to the mixes may well be key when getting users to return after the inevitable initial rush to sign up to see what the fuss is about. Remember it is all about active users, not sign ups, that will determine whether or not new Myspace is a success.
Discovery with a Difference
With all this content that Myspace hopes will be created, curated and shared there is a lot of data that they can capitalise on. Content discovery is also a large part of what they clearly hope will keep users coming back for more. From what I can see and understand it is taking trending on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and attempting to make it easier for users to digest. Discover is split into 8 clear sections; Trending, People, Songs, Mixes, Video, Radio, Events and Playing Now. From here users can find out what the hot topics are and choose between a number of different ways that they can interact with the content. It appears that Myspace may also be creating content (Editors Picks etc) and pushing it out to its users rather than the Facebook approach of pulling in the top read articles on other sites.
A Better way to Search?
This is actually what struck me the most when watching the preview video. They appear to have created a far better way and more attractive way to search for content, people etc. Not much is shown of this but the look and the results seem leaps and bounds ahead of Facebook’s own current search offering. Of course this is a platform specific, inward looking search option, so the results can’t be compared to Google’s or the potential Facebook search offering. There isn’t much more to say about this apart from…oooo pretty!
Insights, Insights, Insights
Being the geek that I am, after the “wow search looks cool” reaction I was then drawn to the very interesting insights offerings that appear to be at the core. It isn’t clear how much users will be able to access and this part of the video could very well have been aimed at artists and companies.
Initially there is a cool feature where you can see an affinity percentage which I am assuming is based on similar topics that you and another person or artist are interested in (a bit like the way Last.fm shows similarities between you and other people). This is a nice little feature however unclear how important this will be to the user but could be at the core of how Myspace will connect users with new people and discover new music/content.
The next part is the insights product that is clearly a big part for artists and brands. We are only shown a quick preview of the Top Fans Overview (there is something else called Backstage and no doubt a more fully featured Insights product) but this already answers something which many marketers and artists have asked from Facebook, Twitter etc “Who are my top fans and who are the most influential?” and “How can I interact directly and reward them?”
The short demo clearly shows a very visual insights product that will allow artists to see all of this and possibly more. It could well be the killer feature that brings many artists and in turn brands to the platform. It undoubtedly puts pressure on Facebook, Twitter, Google etc to create a similar insights product. What is not shown of course is if there is a cost associated with this like that of Twitter’s analytics product.
Mobile will be key to all of this. Without a solid mobile strategy Myspace may as well not have bothered with any of this. Right now the only sign we have that they have a mobile version ready to go is the mobile version of the new Myspace sign up page. It looks very nice and has a funky bouncy feature which kept me entertained for a couple of minutes (I know…I need to get out more) and also plays the preview video. It’s cool, but this still doesn’t mean that there is anything great coming for mobile. They will need the site to run seamlessly in mobile browsers and they will also need a mobile app for all the major platforms. Do Myspace need to partner with a mobile manufacturer? Perhaps, but who?
Is there an API for developers to tap into?
Is there an ecosystem that users will find easy and compelling to use?
What costs will there be for artists, brands and developers?
Is there any advertising?
Will users/brands be able to cross post to other platforms or share out to other platforms?
As pretty as it looks and appears to be easy to use, is it perhaps over complicated? Will users be able to quickly pick it up?
For the core community who are still using Myspace (yes there are still some) is it going to be an easy transition for them?
Will they be able to compete? With Facebook, Twitter and Google+ being built into the very core of the latest pieces of technology, from mobiles to PCs, will Myspace be able to generate enough interest and traffic?
And finally will Myspace be able to get users to return on a daily basis?
It looks great, it really does. The design geek in me loved watching the preview video and of course I have requested an invite. If they can answer all the questions, provide a compelling mobile strategy and entice people across to what many will see as yet another platform…well Justin and his buddies could well be onto a winner.
We all know it wil take just a couple more Facebook privacy issues for some people to begin hitting that “import my stuff” button on the new Myspace…
What do you think? Are you going to sign up or hold back and see what happens? Let me know in the comments below.