By ROBBIE GENNET
Most of us remember when MySpace was king, as well as when Facebook grabbed the crown for general-purpose social media. But like Phoenix rising from the ashes, the re-imagining and rebirth of MySpace is an unexpected surprise. Most importantly for us, they're focusing on music and musicians Design-wise, the only thing that remains the same is the name. Rebuilt from the ground up for the modern age, the new MySpace reclaims the purpose of the site for musicians, and takes interactivity to a new level. The beautiful and clean design reminds us of the best qualities of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Circles, but with a vibe all its own. The key to MySpace's power is Affinity, a kind of next-gen "Like" button that enables you to see simple connectivity data with a mouse-over. Integration is seamless and it's easy to visualize your network as you build it or before you even click. The front page is clean, and only allows for hi-res pictures, making the quality of all the pages excellent.
Here's Justin Timberlake's front page on the new site:
The feed scrolls sideways and shows your activity as it happens, including creation of playlists, uploading of pictures and connecting to friends.
The upper left navigation is a simple interface to navigate your stream:
One of the amazing new functions is the Search ability. There's no search bar; one merely starts typing and big letters appear across the screen with drop-downs of everything from songs and videos to artists and people:
The old MySpace site still exists (for now) but the new site requires a new sign-up. Luckily, all the music from the original site is easy to connect with and share, even though there's an upload function for music on the new site that works very well:
All songs and videos can be added to a single Queue, which appears at the bottom. This pop-up window can also show your Mixes and Radio stations for easy access:
And yes, the powers that be at MySpace promise to curate new music and help discover new artists, much like the original site was supposed to do. Some of this is user-generated via popularity, but some will ostensibly be done by MySpace's team. Here we see new age piano talent Kevin Kern popping up amidst Rush, Prodigy, and Journey albums:
One neat feature is that on every artist page, there are links to "similar artists" and "inspired by" artists, as well as Top Fans, giving power to those who share a band's links and music. For example, here's the page for the band Rush:
There are so many cool features of the new site and this beta version will no doubt get tweaked and grow in the near future. On first exploration, it looks like MySpace 2012 is a contender for the eyes and ears of artists and fans worldwide. Part-owner Justin Timberlake knows what he's doing and has helped build a site that rebrands an iconic name for the new social media paradigm. Dig in and check it out for yourself! Don't be surprised to find yourself mighty impressed.