Possibly the largest internet phenomenon since Amazon.com and E-Bay, is the internet community, Xanga, MyCyberScene, LiveJournal and more specifically MySpace. MySpace is one of, if not the fastest growing community on the internet, gaining membership faster than even AOL or MSN, in terms of hundreds of thousands of new members daily.
One of the biggest lures to MySpace is the music aspect of the site. MySpace administrators market it, primarily, as a place where aspiring musicians (and, more recently, filmmakers) can find the people in the industry who are looking for someone just like them. The front page (sign in page) is littered with links to various “featured band” profiles and featured videos. And, “regular” members can search through thousands of profiles belonging to musicians and bands to find new music that fits their tastes, music that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to because of distance.
While there are many popular “mainstream” musicians and bands (including but definitely not limited to Garth Brooks, American Idols Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and Paris Hilton) with profiles on MySpace, the majority of the artists are “local” bands; artists who at one point would have spent all of their time and energy playing in basements, garages and bars, and gaining a fan base of 50 – 100 followers. MySpace allows these bands to not only connect with potential, would-be fans in their immediate area but from the other side of the world as well.
MySpace Music works in a word of mouth sort of way in that members, both regular members and musicians alike, can add bands as friends. That way my friends, or other visitors to my profile, will see the bands I like to listen to and maybe a few of those visitors will check out a few of the bands. And bands can find new fans by looking through the friends of bands they are influenced by then sending friend requests. It’s the whole “all of my friends are doing it” schpeal, but without the drugs, alcohol, staying out all night or skipping school. This is a good kind of peer pressure, a kind where everyone wins.
Another benefit to having bands as friends is getting the latest news first. One popular feature of MySpace (outside the musical aspect) is the bulletin board. Only my friends can read my bulletins. Bands use the bulletin board to announce upcoming shows, additions to tours, television appearances, album releases and only their “friends” can read those announcements. Their “friends” get the latest news first so naturally, the more friends the band has, the more people who know the “haps,” as it were.
The networking possibilities MySpace offers for aspiring bands who would otherwise struggle for years, cutting demos and having them rejected before either someone gave them a chance, or, more often than not, they gave in to defeat and broke up, are endless, as long as they are willing to put the effort into promoting themselves and sending out friend requests daily. And the networking opportunities have been expanded beyond the website, as MySpace Music has taken on their own 30×30 tent, complete with small stage and meet and greet area, on what is possibly the summer’s largest tour with over 50 stops and over 100 bands, the Vans Warped Tour. Bands performing on the MySpace stage vary with each stop on the tour, because the bands performing on the MySpace stage are all unsigned, local talent.
Despite the negative press that MySpace has gotten as of late, based mostly on its extreme, and seemingly unending growth spurt, the site is performing amazing feats in the way of giving aspiring talents an avenue to promote and live their dreams. Even if their MySpace doesn’t get their band “signed” with a record company, they still get exposure and maybe a few more people will come to the next show and buy a CD.