New MySpace offers new track from backer Justin Timberlake


Justin Timberlake poses during a photocall for the movie "Friends With Benefits" by US director Will Gluck at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin on July 29, 2011. (PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
January 15, 2013

MySpace, now reimagined and with big celebrity backing from Justin Timberlake, is trying to cash in on some of that star power.

In celebration of its new look — and to get people to sign on to the new site — the company is offering all of its members a free single from Timberlake, who hasn’t released new music in six years. Any MySpace user can listen to the single, “Suit and Tie,” by signing in to the service.

The new layout of MySpace is now available to all users, after several months in closed beta. Its minimalist design focuses on giving musicians tools to share their music. An audio player graces the bottom of any page, and the site’s language is very focused on encouraging users to look for new artists, genres and tracks.

For those who still want to use the old layout, it is available through a link at the top of the page. The company has yet to provide any information on if or when it may want older users to switch to the new look.

Timberlake’s star power may draw a lot of new users Tuesday. But getting a surge in membership would be just a start.

As The Washington Post’s Emi Kolawole noted in September, the new MySpace layout is “sleek and pretty,” but the network is relaunching into an arena rife with competitors. Even in the niche of music discovery, services such as Spotify and Pandora have easy ways to make listening to music on your computer into a social experience. Where MySpace appears to have the most potential is in getting famous musicians to use it to reach their fans.

Celebrities can be a great multiplier for social networks. Twitter, as The Washington Post reported last month, actually has communications staff who court “high-touch” clients — celebrities — who can act as ambassadors for the network. To succeed, MySpace could follow a similar strategy and leverage its star connections to attract users and keep them coming back.

The site ranked as the 46th most-visited Web property in a report released by analysis firm comScore in December, down from 43rd in a list released in August.

According to the report, the site logged 27 million unique visits in November 2012, behind Facebook’s 148 million, Twitter’s 39.5 million and Tumblr’s 29.7 million. It did, however, beat out Pinterest, which was ranked 50th with around 26 million unique visitors.

Related stories:

Ideas@Innovations: MySpace + Justin Timberlake = sleek and pretty, but will it work?

For Twitter, a lofty purpose as Pope Benedict XVI makes his first tweet

Venture Beat: Review — New MySpace seems too good to be true

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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