Can Myspace Survive?

Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, but can he do the same with Myspace?

I’m an American, which means I love a good comeback story (especially when the resurrected second-time hero has the potential to lend a hand to independent musicians and bands.)  Whenever there’s a down-and-out soul  on the verge of slipping into oblivion, my American-born empathy for a second chance rises to the surface.

There was a time when Myspace appeared to be gasping for its last breath, drowning in the sea of social networks.  But it seems the once sinking social platform has been thrown a lifeline from Justin Timberlake .  Purchased in June by  Specific Media ( Timberlake’s media investment group) from Ruppert Murdoch scandal-ridden NewsCorp, the once down and out social network is receiving a facelift, but what, exactly, will Myspace look like when the bandages come off? Colin Petrie-Norris, the international director of Specific Media hopes to take Myspace back to its music roots by using Timerlake’s star power to attract other big name musical acts.  The full revamp will attempt to bring commercial entertainment more online real estate, while still having to cater to other lesser known artists.  It appears that Fox still has a hand in the direction of the social network as Fox Digital Studio has just announced they will distribute a 7 episode comedy show  exclusively on Myspace.  But where does this leave the struggling indy bands trying to get a foothold?  It appears that the focus of “music” has left the little guy behind.

In the early and mid 2000’s, having a Myspace page was an obligatory marketing tool for independent musicians, but artists have followed their fans over to Facebook and shifted their marketing efforts to more music-oriented websites like Bandcamp.com and Reverbnation.  As the Myspace team re-purposes the ailing social network by injecting a heavy dose of corporate commercial entertainment into the mix, it feels like the indy musician is once again getting pushed aside.  But does it matter?  The digital landscape has more fertile soil for the independent musician than Myspace.  Perhaps only time will tell if the new-and-improved Myspace will be a contender again in the social network arena.  The fierce fight for social media users may be aimed more at the consumer than at the indy musician.  I love a good comeback, but I certainly don’t know if there is one on the horizon.

The Cloud – It’s a Reverbnation and We’re All Just Livin’ in it (pt. 3)

Even from "way down on the farm," The Carolina Chocolate Drops can access The Cloud through reverbnation.

In my seemingly never-ending search for information about how new media is used by musicians, I run up against a few barriers;  for instance, emails to new media companies go unanswered.  But the corporate cold-shoulder aside, my biggest hurdle is the size of The Cloud.  Everyday I discover different bands using an array of online tools to embed their music to a blog or to post gig announcements in some form of social media.  So, without admitting I’m overwhelmed, I’ll just say that I will try to give as much attention to each online service that I can.  Today I will start with a big one: reverbnation.com

Created in 2006, reverbnation.com claims to have “the best tools for musicians and the best music for everyone else.”  With nearly 2 million artists using their service, they certainly claim a large chunk of music real estate in The Cloud.  From reverbnation’s about page:

ReverbNation.com is the leading online music-marketing platform used by over 1,995,000 artists — plus managers, record labels, and venues — to grow their reach, influence, and business across the internet. ReverbNation.com provides free and affordable solutions to individual artists and the music industry professionals that support them in the areas of web promotion, fan-relationship management, digital distribution, social-media marketing, direct-to-fan e-commerce, fan-behavior measurement, sentiment tracking, web-site hosting, and concert booking and promotion

Quite a lot there, I know, but reverbnation is a monster when it comes to building relationships with fans, labels, venues and producers.  More than 100,000 artists use their free FanReach emailing service which allows musicians to directly connect with fans.  For a premium upgrade, artists can have access to FanReachPro which is for bands who are trying to grow their fan base, book gigs, and earn money from selling merchandise and music.

In the true spirit of the “freemium” service, rudimentary tools get bands started with a profile, which allows them to access to music players and widgets and a multitude of other services. If bands want upgrade to the paid service they can access tools to customize their e-newsletters and press kits and get more detailed stats regarding their fan activity.

Reverbnation’s GigFinder service helps artists find venues that showcase bands similar in genre to their music.  It also allows users to search in a specific geography which is extremely helpful when booking tour dates.  With over 100,000 venue listings around the world, bands can extend their reach for gigs beyond their own backyard.

I didn’t intend for this entry to be a reverbnation commercial, but I have to admit that the sheer breadth and depth of their services for musicians is staggering.  It is an excellent alternative for bands that don’t have the time and resources to build and maintain their own website. For more about what they have to offer check out reverbnation’s Artist Features Page.

To see an example of reverbnation in action, check out The Carolina Chocolate Drops page

Next time, you guessed it, MORE CLOUD!