MySpace is, or at least was, the first stop for finding music from unsigned bands – everyone, and I do mean everyone, in a band had a profile on MySpace. It was just one of those things that a musician had to have.
Nowadays however, there are questions as to whether MySpace is still an effective marketing tool for unsigned bands. Yes, you can still upload your music to a customised profile, but with changes to the user interface and more and more sites that allow you to do the same thing, is MySpace becoming less relevent?
From my point of view, I will have to say yes – there has definitely been a shift away from MySpace over the past few years. Bands are using ReverbNation, Facebook, AmazingTunes and Last FM (to name but a few) to promote their music… Most of these bands do also have a MySpace account, but it seems that they are less important these days. Having said that, I don’t think it is time to quit – a MySpace profile is still a good thing to have, but now it is part of a bigger arsenal, rather than the be all and end all.
So, what are the reasons behind this? Is it just because there are more options for bands to promote themselves online, or is there something more?
For me, there is a major issue with usability – since the re-launch of the MySpace profile (I believe it was last year, maybe 2009) I have found the site really difficult to use. And I think this is a common experience… I’ve seen lots of comments online along the lines of “this used to be good, didn’t it?”. Every time I log in to check on my profile (which I do less and less often), I get frustrated at the loading speed, at not being able to quickly and easily find what I’m looking for, and at the large amounts of spammy bulletins, friend requests and updates and at general irritations with the user interface. MySpace, as I see it, is trying to be a more customisable version of Facebook. But it’s not working – figuratively and literally!
And that’s a real problem – when people get frustrated, that’s when they start looking for tools that will fulfill the same need, but without the same niggles…
I actually think it’s a shame – I used to like using MySpace, but now it’s a struggle to get it to do anything that you want it to, I have joined the crowd in looking for alternatives (if you like, you can find my pages on Facebook and AmazingTunes). I’ll be keeping my profile live for the moment, it still has some uses and it is still assumed by other musicians and industry types that you have one, but I’m making a conscious decision to try to promote myself in other ways too.
I’d love to hear what you think – let me know in the comments!