Over the last few weeks MySpace Music has quietly rolled out a number of new features that should make the service significantly more appealing to consumers. While MySpace Music kicked off to an fairly impressive start when it launched last September, seeing a huge amount of traffic and streamed songs, even its President Courtney Holt has conceded that it wasn’t very user-friendly and didn’t bring many new features to the table. The initial launch of MySpace Music was mostly about laying the groundwork to build a sustainable business. Now, the site is shifting focus to deliver what its consumers want.
The most readily apparent update is the site’s new music player, which is quicker than its predecessor and will soon feature user-customizable skins. Searching has also been overhauled, with a new focus on helping users find artists with a Google-like “Did you mean”, as well as verified artist profiles so users don’t have to stumble across impostors.
The site is also placing a new emphasis on playlists, a feature that has been very popular (with over 105 million playlists created since MySpace Music’s launch), but one that also had some irritating restrictions, including a limit on the number of playlists that each user could create. The new version allows users to create as many as they’d like, each of which can be up 100 songs in length. Users will now also be able to display their full roster of playlists in their profiles (previously they could only publicly share one playlist) and can also share a static URL associated with each playlist with friends, who can listen to the playlist even if they aren’t MySpace members. Perhaps most important, the site will soon allow for playlist embeds, though they haven’t been rolled out yet.
Another upgrade to the site is the introduction of album pages, which allow users to browse an artist’s disc catalogue and to (finally) buy entire albums at once (previously they could only purchase one song at the time). Users can also keep tabs on their favorite artists using activity feeds, which were deployed a few weeks ago.
Looking forward, we’re hearing that MySpace is moving towards rolling out a new hub focused on music videos – and one that will likely compete with the proposed venture in the works between UMG and YouTube. MySpace has the unique advantage of having rights to music videos from every major label (the rights were secured when MySpace Music first formed), which could give it the leg up in what appears to be an upcoming battle in this space.