MUSIC: Is MySpace more important than an Official Website?
MySpace Music has become an easy way for musicians (solo artists and bands) to get exposure. Through Web 2.0 and the MySpace community means fans can connect to comment, put your song on their personal profile, and add you as a ‘top friend’, which means free PR for those involved.
And the results have been astounding. Established artists have upped their sales records via pre-album demo streaming, new artists have been ‘discovered’ via MySpace charts, and ‘rejected’ artists like Lily Allen proved the music industry wrong by generating tons of publicity through her MySpace page [source: Encyclopedia of information ethics and security, Marian Quigley].
Even the record labels see advantages in jumping on board. In 2006, Universal Music sued the company alleging it encouraged users to infringe their song and video copyrights by providing free music. In April 2008, Universal dropped its lawsuit and three of the four labels partnered with MySpace Music that year, selling downloads and streaming songs for free [source: Appetite for self-destruction: Steve Knopper.
The main problem with MySpace over the last few years has been its interface, userbility, unfriendly navigating system and aesthetically unpleasing which means that bands have still opted to having an Official Website (check out Sia). MySpace Music now offers various upgrades, new profiles, downloadable themes, and customisable templates which has increased the appeal to those interested in website design.
The question is, as MySpace teams up with labels and becomes a one stop shop for fans: mp3 streaming, video streaming, tour dates, ‘top friends’ as similar artists, twitter updates, merchandise links, is there still use for an Official Website? Or vice versa, if a band does not have a MySpace page, are they restricting their success by not seeming ‘official’, or worse, be in danger that fans create inaccurate ‘fan pages’?
I would find it an interesting research proposal to analyse success of bands through their MySpace pages vs. Official Websites through analysing website traffic, content and web design. A website can offer much more than a MySpace page, if you know how, but MySpace is still so strong. The success of MySpace is clear, just by typing in a popular band’s name into Google, a MySpace link is usually ranked in the top 4 hits, alongside the Official Website and Wikipedia (try Googling Phoenix Band). On MySpace users share information, comment, post, which grows organically compared to Official Websites where sometimes there is no option for interaction whatsoever. It’s obvious that each complements the other, but also have you ever checked tour dates on an official website to find lack of updates? Updating takes time, and with the build up of so many sites, like Facebook fan pages, Last.fm, it’s quite amazing how nowadays Official Websites are not the go-to for Official news.