Ah, the early 2000s. The dawn of the new millennium brought us trends like peasant tops and cargo pants, emo rock and boy bands, TRL and AIM, and cell phones that were basically just phones.
Even the good old days can make us cringe.
What was also a big deal in the early 2000s was MySpace. Or Myspace. Or myspace. Even the company hasn’t been consistent over the years.
Let’s go with Myspace from here on out. If you keep reading, you’ll see why.
For those not in the know, Myspace was how we as a society really understood the concept of social networking. It was the first time for most of us to create our special corner of the world wide web.
We all were obsessed with shuffling around our Top 8, typing memoir-length bios in our About Us section and taking endless MySpace surveys.
Despite how uniquely we customized our profiles so that we would each stand out—READ: they all basically looked the same—we all had one thing in common: A friend named Tom.
Social media has come a long way since then. From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram (not to forget the 100+ other social networking sites people use), the Myspace of yesterday seems too simple and archaic for today’s top-speed needs.
So whatever happened to Myspace? Did it dissolve into pixilation or has it saved face with a new brand and approach?
Keep scrolling, my friend.
What Myspace Looked Like
In case you don’t remember—who are we kidding? Of course you remember!—here’s a nostalgic view on what you’d see on a Myspace profile.
Your profile pic was featured on the left. Below that, you’d find your contact info as well as a list of interests. The central area was dominated by user-written blogs and “blurbs” (what we’d nowadays compare to Facebook posts).
And let’s not forget all the customization features that took AIM to the next level. You could adjust the background themes on your profile page and have music playing when your connections visited your profile page. The About Me section let you write a novel about your life—which you did because you truly believed everyone would read every word that you said.
But no one read it. And everyone pressed pause on that song that you claimed was a story about your life.
Some could argue that the pre-selfie was born on Myspace. Many users would get out a camera—not a phone camera, an actual camera—and take a high-angle snap of themselves to use for their profile pic.
I saved the best for last: The Top 8 section. Here’s where you could showcase your top eight friends on Myspace, even reorder the queue to show preference over others. It was the way to announce who was your current boyfriend/girlfriend and pit your friends against each other IRL.
Wait, This Sounds a Lot Like Facebook
Our shared friend Tom Anderson doesn’t think so. In fact, he argued that Myspace was a social media platform that was “more open.”
When Facebook was growing in popularity, it was a common question that came up in interviews. And here’s how he compared the two social media giants:
“Facebook is more about who you know and Myspace is more about meeting more people and the people you know and music and video and all these different cultural aspects.”
Don’t believe me? Watch this clip.
Numbers and Dates
So here’s the Myspace story. The social media phenomenon was born in 2003 when founders Tom Anderson, Chris DeWolfe and Jon Hart—all avid users of Friendster—wanted to reinvent the online social space. The concept they came up with was Myspace and by January 2004, their platform was live on the Internet.
By the end of the month, they quickly climbed to 1 million users just after the first month of being live. But that’s nothing to when they were at their peak in 2008: 75.9 million unique visitors a month!
By 2005, investors were taking notice. That’s when News Corporation acquired Myspace for $580 Million.
And Myspace wasn’t losing speed. In 2006, it was the most visited website, even more popular than Google Search and Yahoo! Mail.
I know you still have a @yahoo.com email address. Probably a junk account like mine.
By March 2010, Myspace had 95 million unique visitors a month. Remember that’s when Facebook had 400 million users.
But by March 2011, visits to Myspace dropped down to 63 million. While that’s still a lot of visits, it was nowhere near comparable to Facebook’s popularity.
Myspace Needed a Makeover
A shakeup was needed. So in 2012, Myspace found itself with new owners for $35 Million: Tim Vanderhook, Chris Vanderhook and Justin Timberlake.
You read that right: Justin Timberlake. The boyband heartthrob turned solo artist and actor guy.
Like any pop star looking for a comeback, Myspace reinvented itself again. Instead of competing with the general social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Myspace sought to stand out as a social entertainment network.
You could say Myspace is now the LinkedIn of the entertainment industry.
After a well-needed redesign, Myspace launched again in 2013 as a platform where artists can connect with their fans.
And it was well worth the effort. Myspace account sign ups jumped from zero to 40,000 in a single day. And after two months, the Myspace community had one million new users.
Once again, Myspace reimagined a new way to do social networking and this caught the eye of those who like to make money. By 2016, Time Inc. acquired Myspace.
So, You’re Saying That Myspace is Still Around?
That’s correct. In fact, Myspace is the proud owner of the world’s largest digital music library. Bigger than Pandora and Spotify and however else you stream music.
Here are Myspace’s impressive stats:
- 53M songs
- 5K songs uploaded daily
- 2M artists, including 14M artists looking to sign
Take a look at Myspace and you’ll see it’s not a simple sign-in page. Instead, the Homepage is rich showcases music and entertainment articles, from playlists and pop culture to interviews and Q&As.
Whatever Happened to Tom?
Tom is alive and doing well. But you won’t find him on Myspace.
After retiring in 2009, he lives life as a millionaire. When he’s not at home in Hawaii, he’s globetrotting with his camera taking captivating shots that he shares—for free. You can find him still sporting his original Myspace profile pic on Twitter and Instagram as @myspacetom.
And yes, he’s also on Facebook.