I’ve signed into Myspace using my Facebook account. They said you could use your Myspace ID, but apparently, my memory doesn’t stretch that far back. The site asks me to identify myself. Am I “curator?” A “venue?” A “brand?” Nope, but funny that all those choices are above “fan.” I decide to be more honest, and select “writer/journalist” because it’s the closest thing to “blogger.”
I’m in. Justin Timberlake is staring at me. It’s a little intimidating. He looks angry that I’m here, even though it’s supposed to be my own homepage.
There’s a play button to hear his new song. A link to buy it on iTunes.
I don’t care for Timberlake’s music, but I’m not quite sure how to make him go away. Is the new Myspace just a giant ad for Timberlake? I wonder, while starting to look for other content. Or maybe Justin is just the new Tom. Everyone’s first friend. Tom seemed so much happier, though. More carefree.
The homepage doesn’t fit on the screen of my MacBook Pro 15-inch. I have to scroll over to the instructions. Discover, Search, Connect, the site says. The design is beautiful, I have to admit, if a bit odd with its horizontal scrolling and disjointed navigation.
Where to begin?
Discover. Here, Myspace promises I can “find emerging artists.” I remember when it used to do that. It was what it was known for. Okay, I’d like to find some emerging artists, I think. I click the link.
There are four: Little Night Terrors, Parker Ighile, Buke & Gase, and Ester Dean. Big pictures, each with a little blurb.
Wait, how does Myspace know I would like these?
Is everyone seeing the same ones? Did Justin pick them out for me? Are my friends listening to these guys? I have no context here. I don’t understand why they’re recommended. I decide to move on.
Alicia Keys and another Justin (this time, Bieber), are peering out from the side of the page. I’m curious. They aren’t emerging artists. Didn’t I just click a link that clearly read “Find emerging artists”? I scroll to the left, and there’s a long list of well-known names. A seemingly endless list, actually. It’s all the top artists on the website. It stops at 198, Gucci Mane, if you’re wondering. I guess “Discover” includes finding the artists you already know, too. Good to know.
But I want to really discover. Maybe it gets better when you add friends, I think. Maybe then, like Spotify, you can peer into what other people are listening to. Otherwise, I’m probably going to end up playing 90’s rock, reminiscing, hoping for a grunge comeback.
How do I get back to my profile? I mistakenly click the Myspace logo. (How rebellious of them to put it counterintuitively at the bottom of the page.)
Oh, I’m back to Justin. He’s still just so angry. Maybe that’s his smolder. I don’t know. Am I too old to be here?
I distract myself in the Settings for a minute. Edit Profile. Edit Cover Image. Image must be at least 1024×768 pixels. There are no templates. I steal something from Flickr.
I click “Myspace” again. Justin is still there. Wait, what?
Oooh, PROFILE. I get it. Justin is not hanging out on my profile, just the Myspace homepage. But that means there’s no way to remove the Justin image. Fine then.
To be sure, I click on my name next to the Myspace navigation. Yep, that’s my profile. It’s empty, but at least it has a pretty background now.
Back to the task at hand. I need some friends on this thing. In the navigation bar, I click People. But it doesn’t mean friends, as it turns out. I’m supposed to follow “people and content that inspires you.” Myspace recommends…wow, shocker…Justin Timberlake. Also Timbaland, who yeah, produced for Timberlake and frequently collaborates with him. The third choice? Beyonce.
Myspace, you just don’t get me.
I mean really, I logged in with Facebook – would it have killed you to look through my “likes” for a bit of personalization here?
I find “invite friends.” This is where things get social, I think. But it’s email invites only. No Facebook Connect. How decidedly old school. No thanks.
I start playing music I know instead, forgoing the recommendations, and the “connections” with artists. Myspace lets you play, share, queue up tracks, and create mixes. It works as expected. It’s fine. I listen to familiar songs. They play. Everything works. There’s a radio feature. It doesn’t show me what’s next until I click the arrow. But you can click it a lot without a warning that you’ve skipped too many tracks, as on Pandora. That’s nice. I wonder if that’s a bug, though.
Tracks have strange double circles on them in the play queue. I click them and they turn into one circle. Click again. Back to two circles. Somewhere, Myspace probably thinks this means something. Kelly Clarkson! No, not Kelly Clarkson. Kelly Clarkson! No.
I was just trying to move around the play queue.
While listening, I continue to click around. I try the main Discover link. It takes me to “Trending.”
It’s Justin again, but he has moved closer to the screen now, subtly. Like Ninja Cat. (Hard to see this in the screenshot, by the way).
The screen flashes, and a new image rotates in. Is that a close up of Justin’s tuxedo? It’s something about his new album.
I move to “High Rotation.” Guess who’s number one?
I click again. “New Albums.” Yep, he’s tops here, too. Is there a page on this website that doesn’t have Justin on it in some way?
I click “Recommended.” Finally, I’m not seeing the guy. “Chronicles Of A Fallen Love Remixes Part 1″ appears. “Listen to this cause it’s good,” reads the blurb. “Kill For Love,” rotates in. “Listen again and again,” MySpace instructs. “No One Knows Who We Are,” appears. “Listen to it. Love it. Move your ass,” Myspace advises.
There’s a lot more to do on the new Myspace than on Spotify’s web version, I’ll give it that. But I don’t know what’s popular among my friends on the site, which is Spotify’s big draw. Music is social. Myspace feels like it’s connecting you with brands. I mean bands. Not your friends.
I keep getting lost in the navigation. How do I get back from the Artist profile page to Search or Discover? I find myself clicking the Myspace button a lot because this will take me back to the links to Artists, Music, Discover and Search. I see a lot of Justin in the process.
I’m tired of seeing him.
I leave Myspace. I’m not sure when I’ll come back.