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Why I Quit MySpace.

October 24th, 2010 | 15 Comments | Categories: New Music Strategies |

Today, in case you were unaware, is ‘Quit Myspace Day‘. It’s an entirely voluntary, rather mischievous and unexpectedly cathartic thing to be a part of. A year ago, Andrew Dubber proposed the idea, suggesting that MySpace had one year to become useful, meaningful, helpful, music-ful again or we should all bail out en masse.

The day’s arrived, and Myspace is still, frankly, shit-on-a-stick. The user area is appalling, the public-facing page layout is a mess, the music player is clumsy, the integration with all the other remarkable services that have grown up while it has lain dormant is terrible, the sharing options are paltry and clumsy, the ads still meaningless and intrusive and it’s become almost exclusively the domain of spammers and blanket marketeers – musicians shouting at other musicians about gigs by bad bands on the wrong side of the world.

So today, a lot of us are out (how many? Have a look at the hashtag on twitter – it’s fairly active) – will it be a noticeable blip on Myspace’s user figures? Probably not. Will it free us up to not even have to think about the site again? Most definitely.

As I said, it’s voluntary, it’s not a ‘cool club’ you have to join – only you can decide whether Myspace has any relevance in your digital life. For me, and a large number of other musicians, it’s just become an annoyance and a distraction from working with services that make the discovery, sharing and interaction around music possible and enjoyable.

So, if we were euphemistically labeled as ‘friends’ on MySpace, please feel free to instead add me on either Facebook or Twitter. And to find music in a listener-friendly format on either Bandcamp or Soundcloud.

If, however, you want to be convinced of the awesomeness of Myspace, try following @socialmediagnu on twitter – he loves it.

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • Steve Bingham

    Welcome to No-MySpace-Land; a region I started inhabiting some 9 months ago!!

  • Ninure

    I have NEVER discovered a new artist or band on Facebook or Twitter.

    NEVER.

    I have on MySpace, and actually become actual friends with a few of them.

    Do I think you are making a mistake.

    Oh, and I only add people to either account that I am either a real life friend of, they are a friend of a friend, or we are involved in “causes” with.

    • Steve

      I discovered lots of great music on Myspace… but nothing in the last 2, maybe 3 years. These days I’m finding new music via Twitter every day. Loads of it. If Twitter was my only music-finding avenue, I’d still have more new music to listen to than I had time to listen…

      But that’s why I say only you can decide what works. For me, and loads like me, myspace stopped being remotely useful, meaningful or music-ful a very long time ago. If you’re still finding it to be of use, stick it out, and encourage them to fix it :)

      • Patrick

        I second what Steve says: I find a fair bit of music on Twitter through people commenting and recommending things.

  • Patrick

    I have half a mind to join MySpace just so I an leave…

    I think what I hate most about MySpace – apart from the incredibly messy pages that people create (I assume that they could do better than they do) it the closed nature of the system: to leave comments, you have to join.

    It is such a bad service. Urgh!

  • Steve

    I guess it’s worth noting here that Lobelia (my wife) and I first connected on MySpace – we were recording together after hearing each other’s music there before we ever met. That was at the very end of 2006… So it’s not that it was *never* good, just that it didn’t grow up with the rest of the internet. A 6 year old that builds amazing sandcastles is a genius. A 25 year old who still builds the same sandcastles as he did when he was 6 is in need of new party trick…

  • Mick

    @socialmediagnu has less than half the twitter followers I do. THAT is paltry.

  • Brenda K

    Dammit! I wish I’d known about that (about Quit Myspace Day), and I just might have pulled the plug then too. Ironically enough, Chi went on a “Quit everything – we’re musicians, for God’s sake!” rampage a couple months ago and then decided he wouldn’t force me to delete the myspace profile after all since we get quite a few visitors there and I worked so hard to create it (I’m not very handy with technology!).

    I’ll admit that I’m still on the fence, although I’m not sure why since it hasn’t done us any ostensible good any time since we set it up in late 2006 – 2008 when I finally bit the bullet and got our “own” site, which of course turned into a nightmare all its own, but that’s another story! Also on the negative side, I agree entirely with your assessment, and it’s just one more esoteric thing that hoovers desperately scarce time into its own black hole to update and manage while not producing any discernable results other than a steady stream of random visits.

    Thanks so much for sharing information about other services (eg. SC & BC) that are so much better, i.e., more user-friendly, relevant, sharable, etc., and integrate so well with other information exchange platforms without all the BS that Myspace is full of.

  • Steve

    Agreed that Myspace never grew up; its also a pain to use especially compared to Facebook/Twitter but we still get fair amount of traffic/exposure from it and believe it or not the Myspace blog & events features rank really well in search engine results.

    I guess we’ll continue to use it as ‘business card’ – maybe one day they’ll give it a long over due re-design especially on the GUI. But Im not holding my breath for that!

  • Quit MySpace Day – the Aftermath - B-sting.com

    […] Steve Lawson explains why he quit MySpace and mentions something a lot of people we’re saying: “Oh you’re just doing it to be cool”. He rightfully point out it’s not about being cool but re-evaluting whether the site has any added benefit or is just a waste of time. […]

  • antonie

    We decided to STOP USING MySpace, instead of deleting it all together. Both are forms of quitting.
    check http://www.myspace.com/lttk as to what we think & how we still manage to acknowledge people might find us in the pile of crap that MySpace obviously is, glitter or no.

  • Steph

    Despite its ugliness and all-round terrible design, I loved MySpace for years, because it was by far the best site for discovering new music. I’ve discovered dozens of great musicians through MySpace. I even liked the ‘closed system’ design that Patrick complained about earlier, because it meant that artists’ pages weren’t spammed with countless mindless and nasty comments by people who hated them. It was a positive place to communicate. However, technically it’s always been slow, buggy and annoying, and today was the absolute crunchpoint. I discovered that the latest rollout has made it effectively impossible for me to manage or even view the huge list of ‘friends’ (all musicians) I’ve accumulated. The site has been redesigned by idiots with no thought for usability. It’s so obvious that the site owners are clueless about music and couldn’t care less. I will not be deleting my MySpace account for a very long time to come because it’s my only link to many musicians, but from now on I will be actively looking for alternative sites, and trying not to add new friends if possible. This new quest of mine is the reason I just found your excellent blog, Steve. I suppose this means I’ve got to re-evaluate Facebook, which I seriously hate. Oh well, bite the bullet. It’s the music that matters.

  • Corey Mwamba

    Social Media Gnu is hilarious! Thanks for the link.

    Weirdly, I think MySpace had hit a decent balance between (relatively) decent coding standards and usability before the newest mining of Hell they’ve inflicted on us. And at least they’re accepting multiple formats of audio now. But it IS a mess.

    Two questions though – answer them when you’ve recovered from yesterday[!]:

    1. when music is also your work, how sociable do you want to be?

    2. Is there REALLY a service other than your own space that will get it right?

    C.

    • Steve

      Glad you’re enjoying the Gnu – I’ve been neglecting him :)

      anyway, answers to your Qs

      1 – for me music IS social. The music I make is an extension of who I am, so any social interaction should help people understand it better. I tend not to head in the direction of ‘social interaction for the sake of marketing’ – there are far too many amazing people that I want to talk to for me to waste my time with that. :)

      2. depends what you mean by ‘get it right’ – I think the key for any ‘service’ is integration. Each of us needs to have a dispersed presence, largely because as David Jennings pointed out in ‘Net Blogs Rock ‘n’ Roll’, 99% of your audience spend 99% of their time not thinking about you. If you’re waiting for them to type in your URL to find out what you’re up to, you’re lost. So how well does Myspace play with other services? not at all. How well does it integrate with its own ‘normal person’ profiles? Not well. FB does sharing within FB REALLY well. It also aggregates content to itself pretty well. It doesn’t share at all well, but we can let it off on that one for now. It’s certainly fit for purpose.

      Then the others are all about doing their one thing well – twitter, bandcamp, soundcloud, flickr, audioboo… or the platforms like posterous, wordpress etc… there are ways of making or extending ones web presence using these free tools that 7 years ago we wouldn’t really have dreamed possible… Pick the ones that work for you and leave the others :)

      • Corey Mwamba

        Not “social” – “sociable”. There’s a distinction I think… I would say your approach to music is sociable; it needs and ENJOYS company to survive. “Social” interactions require other people, but do not (have to) take the pleasure/enjoyment principle into account. I guess I’m talking in fairly strict terms here, but there IS a difference.

        A few months back I asked FB to allow sharing of events through Open Graph Protocol [note: this is what FB uses (“consumes”) to share things – it’s quite easy to code – http://opengraphprotocol.org/, so that you can enter an event onto any page, and then share that event INTO Facebook. they were keen, but still nothing…

        What I feel is needed is for other services to consume a wide range of data types… then any artist, “big or small” could share socially and communicate sociably, without having to have sign up to loads of places or using aggregation services like ArtistData and the like. But I suspect that will all come with time :)