MySpace Relaunch Focuses on Successful Niche: Entertainment

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With its battle against Facebook settled long ago, MySpace is relaunching with a focus on the thing it does best: connecting its 120 million global users with the music, TV and movies they love.

"We want to narrow our focus," CEO Mike Jones said in an interview Tuesday. "This is a first step toward a long-term strategy for the Gen Y audience."

Starting today, MySpace will certainly look different. The new layout has what MySpace VP User Experience Mike Macadaan described as "Tetris-style tiles," the screen is divided into tiles of information tidbits, photos, endless scrolling bars of videos, and real-time updates. When asked if the info overload catered to the younger crowd, Mr. Macadaan said, "Yes, it tests extremely well with them."

"MySpace has always been about musicians and artists, but now we are going to focus on curators -- our users," Mr. Jones said. Unlike on Facebook, Mr. Jones said, MySpace users rarely know each other offline, but have common interests around music, movies, television and celebrities. "So they discover content and make connections through content."

The new strategy is about "premium" content, not old-school user-generated content -- in other words, no more UGC for MySpace. The content around which users are meant to congregate are TV shows like "Glee," musicians like Lil Wayne and movies like ... whatever Fox has coming out. And this premium content is perhaps why Mr. Jones feels MySpace is not a competitor to Facebook, but its hip younger friend who always knows what bands are in town, where to go on a Friday night and what gallery is showing the hottest artist.

Like Yahoo, MySpace hopes to find a niche within all the social networks and tools its users are already using, including onetime rival Facebook. "We feel it's complementary to any other social platform that people use," Mr. Jones said. "It will be a while before there is full functionality with Facebook Connect, but I do see it coming."

Users can hang out on the page of a movie, TV show or music channel and connect with other fans for conversations, contests and friendships. If a user becomes the most prolific poster on that channel, he or she will be anointed the top curator -- and can be ousted from that position -- just like the ousting of "mayor" at a check-in location on Foursquare.

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