What's Justin Timberlake got in store for Myspace? Top marketers and ad execs will get an exclusive peek into the multi-hyphenate performer's plans today at New York's Advertising Week. Timberlake is set to host a private reception for "40 to 55 CMOs and senior marketers" along with Myspace's new owners, Tim and Chris Vanderhook of Specific Media, to "discuss the strategy for Myspace, highlight first-100-day learning and achievements and outline advertising opportunities for brands," according to the site's PR firm Spark PR.
The reception will be followed by Advertising Week's kick-off Amp'd Up! Live concert, sponsored by Myspace and presented by Billboard.com, where Timberlake is rumored to act as host as well. Performers at the concert include B.o.B., Natasha Bedingfield and Far East Movement.
Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, taking place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today; presentations that will offer specific solutions structured around answering the most pressing questions; and workshops.
It's been a rough year for Myspace, which was acquired by News Corp. for $580 million in 2005 but sold to Specific Media for $35 million in June, with half of its 400-person staff laid off in the process. And just last week, Specific Media laid off an additional 8% of its own workforce (about 50 to 60 employees.) The site's U.S. traffic has also been halved in the last eight months, plummeting from 73 million monthly unique visitors in January 2011 to 33.1 million in August 2011, according to ComScore. Meanwhile, other music startups like Spotify, Turntable.FM, MOG and Myxer have taken the bulk of the buzz while Specific Media and Timberlake scuttled plans for a late-summer press conference in favor of the private advertiser reception and Advertising Week concert.
Then there's the matter of Specific Media's unproven efforts as a media company. Mostly known as an ad network and aggregator, Specific has been making aggressive hires in the months since the Myspace acquisition to develop a more consumer-friendly strategy, hiring veteran marketers from companies like Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Warner Bros.
"When you think about the top 10 sites on ComScore, they all have a consumer-facing platform like YouTube or Yahoo or Facebook," Myspace's new marketing chief Al Dejewski, a veteran of Turner Entertainment, told Advertising Age in August. "Then you get to No. 6, and this weird company called Specific Media doesn't really conjure any image in the mind's eye for a consumer proposition. The people at Specific realize they've built this really successful digital network but they don't really have anything for the consumer, so they're looking for experts, whether it's from P&G or Warner Bros. or me from Pepsi. That way we can help them build that interactive content platform and, more importantly, that compelling position to engage and build users for these websites."