Harry Cymbler, founder of Hot Cherry, and former head of PR at Tower Records, was interviewed today by The Independent regarding MySpace Music's entry into the UK. Here's the article and we spoke with Harry further about the launch.
Less than five years after MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch for $580m (£348m), the social networking site will tomorrow attempt to resurrect its status in Britain, enthusiastically aided by such music stars as Kasabian, Chipmunk and Florence & The Machine.
The launch of MySpace Music is critical to the fortunes of an online empire that has in the last two years been left trailing by Facebook, which has 23m users in the UK compared to its rival's 13m accounts.
The new service is a joint venture with the four main global record companies and includes unlimited free streaming of videos, official back catalogues of bands, tour details and charts from 25 countries in 22 musical genres. Users are encouraged to explore music by sharing play-lists and following the videos that their friends are watching. The site also incorporates an Artist Dashboard, a tool for the bands themselves, enabling them to monitor demographic information on their core audience.
Introduced in America just over a year ago, MySpaceMusic is outperforming rival sites such as AOL Music and Y! But the delay of the British launch means it must compete in a market where internet users have become used to streaming their music on a wide range of sites that includes Spotify, We7 and MixCloud.
Harry Cymbler, founder of Hot Cherry said MySpaceMusic would need to fight hard to get established. "In recent years MySpace has suffered a decreased audience share; the brand looks lost," he said. "Consumers are changing the way they choose to engage with artists and receive music - think Spotify which, whilst still in its infancy, has attracted massive attention."
But MySpaceMusic, a site dedicated to "the socialisation of music" according to its president Courtney Holt, is a collaborative exercise that integrates the Twitter streams of artists and enables users to download music from Apple's iTunes.
We spoke with Harry about the launch.
Will MySpace Music help rejuvinate the brand in the UK?
"The introduction of MySpace Music in the UK could be the blueprint for a struggling music industry - the brand has evolved where socialisation of content (combining music content, ticketing, touring events, merchandise, downloads with social networking) is key. Whether this will revitalise the MySpace brand in the UK remains unanswered."
What are the challenges?
"In recent years MySpace has suffered a decreased audience share; the brand looks lost and, with rival networks competing for consumer attention, you might be forgiven for thinking that MySpace has forgotten what it stands for."
How does 2009's digital landscape effect this?
"The digital landscape has changed; consumers are changing the way they choose to engage with artists and receive music - think Spotify which, whilst still in its infancy, has attracted massive attention.
Consumer behaviour is increasingly fragmented online and loyalty has shifted to rival networks like Facebook, not to mention the Twitter phenomenon.
Music lives in places that require you to work to find it and fans are hungry for discovery online but the challenge for MySpace Music is to ensure that as many people know about the service as possible and provide a solid platform where audiences can engage with solid content, and return time and time again. Until this time MySpace Music will be eclipsed by its rivals for some time to come."