The giant networking Web site MySpace.com is entering the music arena and is poised for success. Since MySpace was launched in 1999, it has become one of the most successful social sites on the Web, as well as a powerhouse marketing tool for bands and music artists. The site is now able to capitalize on the bands it gave a career boost by using their songs for its first compilation disc, MySpace Records: Volume 1, which contains previously released tracks from bands such as Weezer, Dashboard Confessional, The All-American Rejects and Fall Out Boy. A new track from AFI is also included on the compilation. It’s reasonable price ($9.98) and availability at most CD retailers is sure to boost sales to the targeted demographic.
The disc was released as a joint effort between MySpace and Interscope Records and is the first release for the company. There has been a strong connection between MySpace and music from the start. The site has 36 million users, according to Yahoomusic.com, and has created such a force that bands such as R.E.M, Nine Inch Nails and the Black Eyed Peas have premiered their CD releases on the site for downloading before the actual disc was released in stores.
The power of MySpace stretches beyond that of the typical Web site. It has developed into more than just a site, but a marketing tool and brand itself.
According to a Rolling Stone article, MySpace is the fourth-highest trafficked site on the Web after Yahoo!, eBay and MSN. That kind of attention is almost priceless, as marketers can reach a vast amount of people and know the exact demographics of the population. User profiles contain information that market researchers usually spend copious time collecting. MySpace puts all that information at their fingertips.
MySpace users are automatic targets and recipients of the company’s marketing ploys. Right before the MySpace record’s first release, most users were sent an e-mail with detailed information about the new CD and where it could be purchased. Also, by purchasing the CD online, users were given the opportunity to add four more pictures to their profile. Therefore, users are plugged with product almost unwillingly, and the owners reach a far greater population than they could with conventional advertising methods.
Some bands have even come to depend on MySpace for their networking. Unsigned bands use MySpace as a tool to gain fan support and potential label interest. Bigger bands use the site as their direct lifeline to their fanbase.
Dashboard Confessional’s front man Chris Carrabba said in a Rolling Stone interview, “If (fans) heard a Dashboard song, they wouldn’t go to my site to check it out; they’d go to MySpace. It’s the world’s most powerful marketing tool at the moment.”
With all that power, it leads one to wonder where MySpace will go next. With the iPod’s new video function, MySpace could also host virtual concerts. Ticketmaster charges enormous surcharges – MySpace could offer concerts from the convenience of home or for download. MySpace merchandise could also be on the horizon. Bands could hawk their stickers and tees via their automatic fanbase on the site.
Since people create profiles detailing their favorite things, such as music, CDs and books, merchandisers can easily pinpoint their audience. What kind of monster MySpace becomes lies for the future to know. But beware of what information you put on your page; you could be one huge marketing bull’s-eye. And you thought you were merely trying to stay in touch with your friends.