Myspace relaunches to reassert position

MySpace has revealed relaunch plans to reassert itself as the leading social music platform as agencies claim it’s “on its last roll of the dice”.

The social network relaunched in the US this week, with the UK planned to follow suit in mid-November. It’s banking on a complete rebrand and redesign of the site and a renewed focus on music to set itself apart from increasing competition.

MySpace is launching a major consumer marketing push and has embarked on a UK agency roadshow to drum up advertiser interest ahead of next month’s launch.

The company is looking to regain traction in the social space after it was overtaken by Facebook as the number-one social network in 2007.

The relaunch will focus on using members’ interests and behaviour to give recommendations on new music, with new tools to let users share content.

In the US, the site will focus on other content areas such as movies, TV and celebrity, but MySpace said the UK audience mainly visited the site for music, so here it will focus content on that.

Simon Daglesh, VP commercial director of MySpace parent company and News Corp division Fox Interactive Media, said providing the best experience for music meant partnering with other sites to enable sharing as widely as possible.

“We’re number one for music in the UK and number one in terms of time spent with music, and that’s a very nice place to be,” he said. “We have to mine very deeply and provide social content, which means sharing of tracks and videos using Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter.”

While the UK industry warned that it could be the social network’s last chance as a viable media buy, due to stronger competition, it welcomed the focus on music.

Matt Simpson, head of digital at OMD Group, said, “I’d have to say this is MySpace’s last throw of the dice. It has seen massive competition in recent years, mainly from Facebook, and if it doesn’t find something relevant it’ll go further into decline.”

Charlie McGee, MD of media agency Carat Digital, said the revamp had potential but there needed to be more innovation and integration with other sites. “MySpace has obviously had difficulties with the competition in the market since it first emerged, but it still has lots of money behind it and has access to a lot of artists, so I wouldn’t count it out yet,” he said.

Neil Kleiner, head of social media at Havas Group, said MySpace would still be interesting to agencies and advertisers because it’s more flexible creatively than other social sites.

“As an agency, I’m looking for creative ways for my client brands to engage with their audiences, and Facebook doesn’t offer that,” he said. “MySpace has admitted it’s not competing with Facebook or Twitter, so its focus has to be on content and allowing its users to create communities around that content.”

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