Myspace's decision to lay off half its workforce yesterday did not come as a huge surprise. But once it became official, the move solidified Myspace's image as a hopelessly sinking ship. Few believe anything but a sale or spinoff is the inevitable result.
For the music industry, this represents a significant conundrum. Myspace Music, the joint venture between Myspace and the major record labels, remains an important source of music promotion and discovery.
If Myspace goes away, where will all the artists who rely on their Myspace profiles as a default website go?
- Forrester Research analyst Mark Mulligan on his blog says smaller, music-specific upstarts like Bandcamp, SoundCloud and others are one option, but Facebook is emerging as the clear winner: "After a slow start, artist pages on Facebook have rapidly stolen the momentum. Artists are flocking in their droves to Facebook, leaving their MySpace pages to wither and many are even closing down their own websites. After all, where else are you going to get access to an audience of the scale that Facebook brings?"
- Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer looks to Tumblr as a likely beneficiary: "This is a huge opportunity for Tumblr, which is insanely simple to use for blogging, and could easily handle most musicians' needs with 1) better support for static pages like "tour dates," "bio," etc., and 2) some sort of digital playlist tool for music samples. (Almost like a "Muxtape for Tumblr.")
- Songkick head of business development Caren Kelleher, however, feels artists are still "married" to Myspace Music: "Even with the rise of artist service companies, few are positioned to replicate what is perhaps MySpace's biggest asset: its role as the musician's calling card. The myspace.com/bandname URL is a common convention most bands adhere to and more consumers recognize. Chances are good that the piano man at your neighborhood bar has a MySpace page, as do the world's most successful acts. While combining a number of APIs and widgets on an artist's homepage can achieve the same functionality of MySpace, few have the potential to achieve the URL ubiquity that MySpace has."
What do you think will happen to Myspace Music, and how will it affect the music industry? Send me your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.