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Myspace Was Better Than Facebook (For Music)

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

click to enlarge Skrillex built a fanbase on Myspace - STAR FOREMAN
  • Star Foreman
  • Skrillex built a fanbase on Myspace
With Facebook's stock and growth rates skydiving, it's time to say something that should have been said a long time ago: Myspace was better. Maybe not when it came to its coding or those garish "personalized" pages, but definitely when it came to music.

Back in the day -- say, about 2004 or so -- an artist's Myspace page was an interactive business card, a piece of free ad space upon which bands built brands. One click, and you could find everything: tour dates, photos, bios, videos, blog entries, and most importantly, streamed music. Now? Folks interested in a one-stop shop of information about a band really have no idea where to turn first.

You might be able to find out what you need to know after perusing an artist's Twitter, YouTube, tumblr, Facebook, Bandcamp and their personal website, but since Myspace's decline, there's no centralized social media hub for fans to hang out on.

For starters, Myspace's music player was impeccable. At the top of each page was a built-in song streamer that was easy to use, and often had bands' whole catalogs, practically.

And when you wanted new music, you weren't left skipping through Pandora ads. You'd simply search through Myspace's categories for up-and-coming musicians in your preferred genres. Through this method, I found out about folks like Marques Toliver, the soulful violinist-vocalist who has gone on to tour with James Blake, Hope, whose acoustic ballad "Bring Me Flowers" accumulated 5.7 million plays on Myspace, and Grizzly Bear, who have since become indie rock favorites.

Myspace also helped tons of artists get signed. Diddy first listened to Janelle Monae on her Myspace page. He promptly messaged her and then, months later, she was signed to his label. Universal Republic signed folk-pop singer Colbie Caillat after she held down Myspace Music's number-one unsigned artist spot for months. And artists built giant followings using the social networking services, including Soulja Boy and human subwoofer Skrillex. At its peak, the company even developed its own label, Myspace Records, to boost some of the talent found on its pages.

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