MySpace’s parent company is looking to raise $50 million in order to rebrand MySpace as a streaming music service that would compete directly against Pandora and Spotify in 2013. News Corp. acquired MySpace for $580 million 6 years ago and sold it to Specific Media for $35 million last summer.
You may recognize the icon at the top left as Apple’s signature icon for the Music application on the iPod, iPad, and iPhone. Apple applied for a trademark for the icon, but it looks similar to a trademark that is owned by MySpace. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld an examiner’s decision to refuse Apple’s trademark protection for the orange music icon.
MySpace has redesigned their social network in an effort to look more modern and sleek, but it really just looks like a Windows Phone and Pinterest replica. I was actually hoping for better since former Facebook exec Blake Ross joined the team and that pop artist Justin Timberlake bought equity in the company. Yes MySpace may look like it was “built from scratch” since it first launched, but to me it looks like they looked at Pinterest.com, thought “hmm this looks cool,” and then relaunched based entirely on that design. Better luck next time MySpace, I think the UI still looks pretty bad. MySpace does not have a technology problem, they have a marketing and PR problem to address. Below is a video demo of the new MySpace:
MySpace acquired Photobucket for $250 million in cash in May 2007. Back then Photobucket was the most popular photo sharing website and it was used primarily by teenagers to post photos for their MySpace profile. Facebook introduced unlimited photos and MySpace plummeted from there. Now Photobucket’s traffic is down over 30% from its peak in 2007. The new version of Photobucket will be rolled out slowly and additional sharing features will be coming in September.
Over the weekend, Facebook Director of Product Blake Ross led an initiative to build a browser bookmarklet called “Don’t Be Evil.” Ross built the bookmarklet to rewrite Google’s personalized search results to include content from other social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and MySpace rather than just Google+. The engineers also launched a website for the tool and called it Focus On The User.
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News Corporation (NASDAQ:NWSA) had lost $254 million on their acquisition of MySpace said News Corp. This pushed News Corp.’s Q4 net income down 22% to $683 million.
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Today Myspace sold to Specific Media for $35 million, but the surprising part of the sale is that Justin Timberlake will be taking an ownership stake in the company. In a move reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s partnership with Polaroid, Timberlake will be more than just a name associated with the company: according to Mashable, he will be contributing his vision to Myspace as well. Another report from Mashable says that Myspace’s CEO Mike Jones will be leaving the company after a transition period. Specific Media, an advertising network, plans to focus Myspace on entertainment.
Myspace is currently subject to a lot of rumors, from layoffs to sale, and should be done with their acquisition deal by Thursday. All Things D reports that Specific Media and Golden Gate Capital are the frontrunners in the deal, both with plans to focus on Myspace’s music services. Before the deal finalizes Myspace will likely cut its staff—some say by 50%, maybe more.