Is Myspace Dead?

Exploring the troubled social network's struggle to make a real comeback

Myspace
 Screenshot of Myspace.com

Myspace is one of those social networking sites that once was at the top, only to fall behind as others prospered and took the lead.

So, does that mean that Myspace is dead and gone? Not exactly, but that depends on what you think of it now and whether you'd still consider using it.

Sure, the site has gone through some pretty rough times over the past few years, but believe it or not, lots of people still use it as one of their main social networks. Here’s a brief look at how Myspace started, where it started to fall flat, and what it’s doing to try and get back on top.

Myspace: The Most Visited Social Network from 2005 to 2008

Myspace was only launched in 2003, so it’s barely even a decade old. Friendster gave inspiration to the founders of Myspace, and the social network was officially sent live on the web in January of 2004. After its first month online, over one million people had already signed up. By November of 2004, that number grew to 5 million.

By 2006, Myspace was being visited more times than Google Search and Yahoo! Mail, becoming the most visited website in the United States. In June of 2006, it was reported that Myspace was responsible for nearly 80 percent of all traffic related to social networking sites.

Myspace’s Influence over Music and Pop Culture

Myspace has largely been known as a social networking site for musicians and bands that they can use to show off their talent and connect with fans. Artists could upload their complete mp3 discographies and could even sell their music from their profiles.

In 2008, a major redesign was launched for the music pages, which brought along a whole bunch of new features. During the time that Myspace was most popular, it served to be a valuable tool for musicians. Some might even admit that it still is one today.

Losing to Facebook

Most of us saw how Facebook quickly grew into the Internet behemoth that it is today. In April of 2008, both Facebook and Myspace were attracting 115 million unique global visitors on a monthly basis, with Myspace still winning in the U.S. alone. In December of 2008, Myspace experienced its peak U.S. traffic amount with 75.9 million unique visitors.

As Facebook grew stronger, Myspace underwent a series of layoffs and redesigns as it tried to redefine itself as a social entertainment network from 2009 and beyond. By March 2011, it was estimated that the site had dropped from attracting 95 million to 63 million unique visitors over the past 12 months.

The Struggle to Innovate

Although several factors and events likely triggered the decline of Myspace, one of the biggest arguments is that it never figured out how to innovate well enough to keep up with the massive social networking sites that now dominate the web like Facebook and Twitter.

Both Facebook and Twitter have continuously rolled out major redesigns and new features over the past several years that have helped reshape the social web for the better, whereas Myspace kind of remained stagnant for the most part and never really made a true comeback—despite its effort to roll out several redesign solutions.

But Is Myspace Really Dead?

In the minds of many, Myspace is kind of unofficially dead. It’s certainly not as popular as it once was, and it’s lost a ton of money. Most people have moved on to other popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. For artists, video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo have grown into massive social community sites that can be used to get huge exposure.

Officially, Myspace is still far from being dead. If you navigate to myspace.com, you’ll see that it is very much still alive. In fact, Myspace was still boasting 15 million monthly active visitors as of 2016.

15 monthly visitors is a far cry from nearly 160 million monthly users that Facebook boasts, but it puts Myspace almost on par with other popular platforms like Google Hangouts at 14.62 million monthly users and just under WhatsApp at 19.56 monthly users. Although it might be as good as dead to millions of past users who've moved on (presumably to Facebook and Instagram), Myspace is still thriving on a much smaller scale than it once was.

The Current State of Myspace

In 2012, Justin Timberlake tweeted a link to a video featuring a completely new Myspace platform redesign and a new focus on bringing music and social together. Four years later in 2016, Time Inc. acquired Myspace and other platforms owned by parent company Viant for the purpose of gaining access to valuable data for better targeted ads to audiences.

On Myspace's front page, you'll find a variety of entertainment news stories not just about music, but also movies, sports, food and other cultural topics. Profiles are still a central feature of the social network, but users are encouraged to share their own music, videos, photos and even concert events.

Myspace certainly isn't what it once was, nor does it have the active user base it did when it peaked in 2008, but it's still alive. If you love music and entertainment, it might be worth using—even in 2018 and beyond.

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