2010 Fail: MySpace

myspace fail

The following was originally published on AUX.tv.

No single website has pissed off musicians, journalists, and fans this year than MySpace. First, it was simply how slowly it loaded, or how your browser would sometimes crash because – god forbid – you wanted to listen to a track from the band’s page you were visiting, or just how songs or videos automatically played when you navigated a page. Not to mention the misguided attempts to mimic features of Twitter or Facebook, companies that are lapping MySpace technologically. Now with the new redesign, the California-based company wrecked what little hope they had left for the people who really use the site (other than perverts), ironically in an attempt to draw them closer.

They say they’re even more entertainment-oriented now, and that was the goal, but it’s hard to see how. With the new beta version of MySpace, or My[____] as they so cloyingly call it, songs cut off or barely load at all, pictures are small and hard to navigate, information is scattered across the page instead of in one consistent space, ads have become more prominent, publishing tour dates is confusing, the list goes on. It’s a frustrating battle that we’re all working through.

Probably the most aggravating aspect of the redesign for musicians has to be the new design itself (and not just for bands that have put thousands of dollars into their slick pages only to lose them to the overhaul). “Looking at my page now, I’m filled with mild rage,” says Jon Janes of The Mountains and the Trees. “It looks horrible, and I know it’s going to take a few hours to sort out the new features, how to get rid of what I don’t want, how to get the info I want up front where it needs to be, and how long it will be before some huge bug is discovered and it changes again.”

When the redesign was still fresh, Mashable’s Ben Parr wrote: “While there are no guarantees that the new strategy will turn things around, the combination of a focused direction and a stylish design gives me hope that MySpace may actually be able to pull off one hell of a comeback. Its biggest obstacle will be convincing people to give it a second chance.”

Has it worked? Anything that keeps you away from a band’s site is a wonder. Facebook pages come in handy when looking for more detailed up-to-date information and pictures, Bandcamp is a godsend for playing music, and Twitter allows musicians to connect with their fans more easily (if they do it properly). But it feels like a backwards mission, with information spread out over other preferable websites.

The one positive thing about MySpace getting into its later, less relevant years is that it’s also been able to stifle some things we surely won’t miss. The “MySpace photo,” for one.

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