By Lisa Bernier
The re-launch of Myspace Music is supposed to be the “next big thing” in music and social sharing. After all, Justin Timberlake himself has invested in it–and has been pushing it hard via the press rounds. If Mr. JT gives it the a-ok, then it must be cool, right?
Granted the espousal of an actual musician is a plus in its favor. Myspace the social network remained relevant for perhaps longer than it deserved in part due to it being a platform for new bands to let their music be heard or to connect with an audience without the help of an agent, MTV, or a major label.
So, how does the newly designed Myspace compete against giants like Spotify, Pandora, or Songza?
The HomePage is fairly simple. Clean, easy to navigate and relatively clear of ads, you can find music by genre and artist.
Once you scroll down further, you can also watch videos and see breaking music news.
Scroll down farther, and you can choose artist pages, or albums.
At the bottom is an Open Player option. The Player opens up in a separate window, and is like a cleaner looking version of Spotify. You have to option to search music and create playlists. You can also create a “radio station” by typing in an artist, or go by genre. Up in the right corner allows you to share via Facebook. Once you type an artists or genre in, the Player suggests similar music, artists, and what tracks are upcoming. The Player also allows you the directly buy the music, or add it to you own playlist which you can save.
The sound from the player is clear and clean, and fortunately is not interrupted by annoying ads. Granted, there are small advertisements on the side, but for a listener, those are much less annoying than having a playlist interrupted by an audio corporate plug. Here, Myspace Music definitely has one up on Spotify. Since the player also pops up in a separate window, it is easy to navigate the rest of the site while listening to the music of your choice.
If you would rather watch a video, simply click on an artist on the hompage and the video comes up. Videos are also given the option to be shared, as well as embedded (which is great for bloggers).
The video also allows you to comment, and gives you the Top Videos in a sidebar on the right.
Unlike YouTube, whose sidebar is often distracting, it’s easy to focus on the video that’s playing rather than what you could click on next. It’s clear that the focus is on the artist and the music, rather than Internet trolling.
The News Section is separated into three main categories: Breaking, New Music, and Giveaways. Each page looks like a blog, with subcategories in a sidebar on the left. Again, distracting ads are minimal and the reader can easily browse and choose what they want to pay attention to.
The Giveaways section is probably one of the biggest assets to fans. Incorporating offers for various artists for concerts (as well as other offers for DVDs and fan packages), it is a great way to bring users to the site. Excellent for promotion for artists, it is an excellent way to integrate fans from many different genres. The page also allows viewers to Like via Facebook, or Tweet.
To be able to comment, or make playlists or an account you can sign in either via Facebook or as a new user. The sign in process seems simple, but is one of the more difficult parts of the site. Sometimes, the page refused to refresh or go through—obviously some kinks need to be worked out with that feature.
Overall, Myspace Music is a great improvement over the former site. It’s easy to find music and artists, and the social media integration is excellent. It is clearly a site designed with musicians and fan interaction in mind. Unlike Spotify, it allows continuous music without interruption and is a much easier to use and navigate. Unlike Spotify, it still has the stigma of the now obsolete “Myspace” to overcome. However, it’s clear that thought and detailed effort were put into the design and functionality of the site, and it should be on every musician’s and music fans radar. Myspace is less like a great music site, and more like an awesome music blog that just also happens to share music. In short, it seems Justin Timberlake knows what he’s doing. Darn it. Can’t the man do anything wrong?