If you’re anything like me, you haven’t touched your Myspace account in years. A social networking pioneer, Myspace’s fame waned with the rise of Facebook, which did social bigger, better, and more efficiently. Myspace was high school; Facebook was college.
That’s why I was surprised and delighted to hear about the “new” Myspace. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the promotional video they put out a few months ago, check it out:
It looked sexy, and boy was I intrigued. I signed up for the beta release and, low and behold, found an invite in my inbox earlier this week.
Setting up my personal profile was a little confusing. Navigation is context-specific, so I had to click around a little before finding the option. (I’m also pretty sure that edit icon wasn’t there when I was trying to set up my profile, but I could be wrong) I’ve since gotten used to the context-specific navigation, but it was definitely a bit of a challenge the first day. I also had some trouble grasping the concept of “connections”, which is essentially Myspace’s “like.” You can connect with anything: music, mixes, images, videos, people, artists, etc. I still think it’s a little weird that you can “connect” with things that aren’t people, but at least it’s a consistent experience across the site.
So far my absolute favorite feature has been Myspace’s new search. On any page, if you want to search, all you have to do is start typing. An overlay with your search pops up as you type. It organizes your results into relevant categories. It’s clean, simple, and really easy. Don’t actually want to search? Just press esc and you’re back to where you were.
I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: I love making playlists. Love it. I’ve spent hours in Winamp and iTunes making the perfect playlists for every occasion. Myspace’s process for creating “mixes” is one of the most seamless and enjoyable experiences I’ve had to date. I can search for music without leaving my mix page, unlike iTunes, where it’s a constant game of back-and-forth between playlist and library. If you’re listening to a genre radio or someone else’s mix, you can also quickly and easily add those songs to your mix from any page on the site. Your mixes get published to your activity feed so you can instantly share them with your friends.
Unfortunately, I’ve run into a few frustrating spots with making mixes — the drag-and-drop reordering is a bit jagged. I’ve had trouble dragging songs from bottom to top, or vice-versa. Additionally, there’s no way to preview songs before adding them to your mix, so I’ve found a few available songs that are really bad quality. Lastly, the selection right now isn’t as awesome as I’d like it to be — a lot of songs I’ve found and enjoyed through services like Hype Machine and Turntable.fm are unavailable, and there’s no way to add your own music. Even still, Myspace’s mixes are definitely a step in the right direction.
Right now, there aren’t a lot of people using the new Myspace. Despite that, I’ve found myself coming back every day. This isn’t something I can say about Google+, which has all but been abandoned. Why is the new Myspace bringing me back when Google+ failed to? It’s actually quite simple — it doesn’t matter that no one’s using it yet. My enjoyment isn’t contingent on social interactions, but personal enjoyment of music. It’s everything I was hoping Spotify would be. Searching for music is fast and easy. Making playlists is fun, while on Spotify making a playlist is tedious, even agonizing. I can listen to albums or easily find mixes other people have made. The new Myspace isn’t trying to be the new Facebook, unlike Google+. It’s trying to be the new Myspace.
Will it continue to keep my attention? Who knows. As of right now, however, I’d give the new Myspace a thumbs up.
Want an invite? I’ve got one up for grabs! Tweet me your email @melchoyce.