moments before the wind.

April 23, 2006

and i threw my roses down

Filed under: authenticity, business, digital, distribution, indie, labels, marketing, music, news — alimarcus @ 2:24 pm

NY Times on MySpace

The future of MySpace seems up in the air, although not as much as optimists would like to believe. This lengthy article in today's NY Times explains a bit about the inner conflicts of the Rupert Murdoch's corporate takeover. It's pretty clear that Murdoch's bottom line is going to win out over the desire to serve the MySpace users. The article does a good job of illustrating the discrepancies between the executive's goals. Go read it.

There was one point that isn't quite accurate though. A lot of discussion is made about giving advertisers their own profiles, so that MySpace users can become friends with, say, Target or a new Nike line. Therefore, the company could post blogs and send out announcements that are affectively personalized, directed advertisements. There is a line drawn between these sorts of overtly commercial tactics and the social networking that currently goes on on the site. My immediate reaction to this assertion is that a huge component of MySpace is already doing this- the music industry uses it as an advertisement in exactly this fashion. Bands having their own sites to promote shows is just the tip of the iceberg. Venues, radio stations, record labels, booking agents, all these people and more have company MySpace profiles. They are doing it to enhance their business. To a certain extent, it fosters the relationships that create the business, but it is mostly, in my experience, just another form of shameless advertising. To expand this concept from, say, a local Seattle bar to a new line of Clinique makeup isn't nearly as drastic as the article makes it out to be.

Does this make Fox's intentions acceptable? Does it merely expose MySpace's purported revolutionary networking as just another form of the same old game? Or is it all a matter of scale? Maybe the value of promoting music makes it more ethical than promoting more blatantly consumer-oriented products. Maybe the great effect that MySpace has had on the music industry will soon become a thing of the past, as the site falls into corporate conglomerate oblivion.

All in all, the article makes MySpace feel like an exciting, promising business venture, but is incredibly disheartening to those who attribute(d) any kind of value that goes beyond what can be found in a mall or on TV.

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