LeWeb: Does MySpace have a future?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Robert Scoble and Mike Jones

It must be tough to sit on a stage and see that only 1% of the audience has bothered to check out the latest version of your product. But that’s exactly the situation that Mike Jones, CEO of MySpace has just found himself in. The new MySpace they launched 15 days ago? It hasn’t stirred the attention of the tech crowd.

Interviewer Robert Scoble pushed on the point, stressing that MySpace has been part of LeWeb almost since the start: will it be back next year? Jones argued that it was, and that News International, its owner, is very focused on entrepreneurship. They’ve let go of trying to win as a social network, and have refocused on their new entertainment-focused product, and that means they won’t be dumped if the new strategy works.

Interestingly, one third of MySpace’s views are now mobile. So, they’re creating a hole range of applications – an application network as Jones calls it – doing niche, targeted jobs on iPhone and iPad.

It took him until quite  a distance into the the interview to clearly articulate what the new site is about: it’s about entertainment discovery through a social lens. That’s why they’re now happy to integrate with Facebook – because the Likes of you and your friends through Facebook can inform the discovery mechanism. They don’t want to compete with iTunes either – they;ll send people there to buy. They seem to be positioning themselves as a new middleman, sitting between your friends and your entertainment store, finding related and connected content.

The problem, I think, is that it’s something people have to go to, rather than be pushed to by their social network. And we all have enough online islands to row out to…

This is the second speaker this morning that has explicitly talked about reinventing their product completely to compete in a new age, one where they’re no longer a market leader. And both of them gave a very corporate line rather than an enthusiast’s one. Telling? Perhaps.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.