Published on February 9th, 2011 | by Lewis Donovan
How bollocks is MySpace? I was thinking about this earlier. What is it? What is it supposed to do? Their recent re-design has clearly put more emphasis on celebrities and musicians but, it’s STILL a social network: You add people, you message people, you write on people’s profiles and so on and so forth, but nobody uses it as a social network. I mean, when was the last time you logged into MySpace to post a bulletin, contact your friends or upload pictures from your messy weekend? 2007? Thought so.
So what do people use it for? Music, obviously. And why not? It gives artists a platform to show people their music, their videos, their photos, their achievements. Not only does this help grow their fanbase, it also gets them work. When we book bands for Death 2 Disco, the first port of call is always the MySpace page. Most bands will have contact details for their booking agent and manager (if you’re in band and you don’t have these on your MySpace page… you’re an idiot. This IS stopping you from getting bookings). MySpace also has great SEO. Search Google for any band that has come to the fore since the advent of social networking and the overwhelming majority will have their MySpace page at the top of the search results. With all of this combined, it’s an obvious choice for a band to have a MySpace account.
But are they really getting all they should be? Or are MySpace being complacent? I mean, I can’t even begin to comprehend how much money BlagSound could be making if we had literally every band on Earth signed up to our site. It’s a ridiculous asset. So why not help that asset? Make sure it’s not going to get lured away by the likes of Last.fm.
How about offering services similar to that of a record label? Create your own digital download store and take 10p from each download. Allow artists to set up their own merchandise store on their profile and you keep a small percentage of every sale. You’re not being greedy, you’re actually helping the bands. Plus they’ll bring even more traffic to your site because they’ll be promoting the fuck out of the link. And if they don’t sell anything, you’re not going to lose anything.
Apparently there are over 8 million artists on MySpace but, realistically, not all of those are active. Let’s say there are 5 million. Imagine each one is selling t-shirts for ¬£12 each and you take ¬£1.20 for each of those t-shirts. Now let’s say each band has an average of 2.5 members and each member sells two t-shirts (not unrealistic). You would stand to make ¬£30million. For doing pretty much fuck all.
Okay, so maybe MySpace’s CEO isn’t a money-driven businessman (unlikely as hell, but bear with me), why does the site then not offer a means of nurturing new artists without profiting from them? This way they can build themselves up until they attract the attention of a major label, get signed, get paid, go on tour and live happily ever after. Well it’s not worth their time and, perhaps, not in their interest.
MySpace have a huge number of joint-venture partners. So who are they? Major record labels, of course. MySpace Music isn’t only just by MySpace. It’s a joint venture between MySpace, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. And let’s not forget, MySpace itself is owned by Fox Interactive which in turn is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. And where does MySpace’s revenue come from? Advert banners that are shown at the top and in the sidebar on every single profile on the site.
So let’s think about the income streams here. The independent and unsigned bands promote their profile to their fans and potential fans (that’s you). You visit the site, along with millions of others, this generates a huge audience which used as advertising bait. Advertisers pay to advertise on these bands’ profiles. They pay, in fact, huge amounts for these adverts. Every page on MySpace Music is categorised by genre and is location-specific. In visiting a band page you are instantly part of a demographic and advertisers will pay top-dollar for your attention. This money all goes back to the people who own MySpace Music – the big labels.
The major labels don’t have to sign bands to make money out of them anymore. They don’t even have to be aware of them.
This appears to answer the question of why young and talented bands never seemed to get signed until everyone on the internet is already fucking bored of them (Hadouken!) – major labels can make money off these bands without having to even sign them. And by the time MySpace users are bored of them, they’re either resigned to the dustbins of time, or have gotten big enough to warrant signing anyway and making even more money off them. (Hadouken!).
What’s your view? Let us know in the comments section below…