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MySpace Music launches: Users ask, "Who is Mick Jagure?"

Posted by Jack Riley
  • Thursday, 3 December 2009 at 02:11 pm
MySpace, the News Corp-owned former social-networking behemoth, has been locked in tug-of-war with Facebook ever since the latter's formation, but now it's traffic has been overtaken even by Twitter in the UK, it seems fair to say that the direct competition is all but over. But one area it has always succeeded in is music, despite the site's lack of polish. Today sees the relaunch of MySpace Music in the UK, just over a year after the service launched in the US, featuring shareable playlists, integration with iTunes for purchasing songs, and fully licensed streamable music and videos. As well as that, artists are getting more advanced analytics pages, so they can pinpoint where in the the world their fans are to be found, and there's also some live concert footage from such pop luminaries as Lady Gaga and Eminem.

They're marking the occasion with a raft of celebrity playlists, of varying quality; Katie Price is taking the opportunity to air her playlist "Songs that make me want to party" (featuring Beyonce's 'Single Ladies', of course; despite the fact that he did, in fact, put a ring on it), the Jonas Brothers are letting us know their "Songs we can agree on" (the spectre of tense tourbus moments looms large), and the infinitely more palatable "Playlist for tour" by Weezer.

It's unfortunate though that the site's design for artists' pages is still that clunky mixture of bland templates and (perhaps consequently) an over-active impulse to customise on the part of individual users. There are exceptions, of course, but the sad fact about MySpace is that the vast majority of its users' pages and, to an extent those of artists', still look like a thirteen-year-old girl has tried to consume the contents of her handbag, thrown it up onto a screen, and then attempted to rearrange the resulting mess into a website, blindfolded. And that's before you even touch on the technical frailties of the infrastructure which is, as a friend of some technical expertise once told me, 'held together by sticky tape and good hope'.

Still, the improvements can only be a good thing for the burgeoning market for music streaming sites, and services like Last.fm and Spotify, both of which operate in roughly the same space, will be watching the developments closely, though they may not be directly competing for users; the demographic for the new site is pretty clear from the sharp focus on pop music; not to raise the question of what age-group that might be directly, two of them just posted comments asking "Who is Mick Jagger?" and "whos mick jagure???" on the Video for K$sha's "Tik Tok", which is top of the site's video chart.
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