MySpace lays off 400, Echo Music goes the way of the dinosaur

Wow! How MySpace grew to over 1,400 employees, no one knows? Maybe that’s the worldwide number. Regardless, the company, which was acquired by News Corp a few years ago for what was then thought as a steak, is trying to streamline operations and get back to the “start-up” mentality that helped to fuel it’s growth. This blogger highly doubts putting senior executives from companies like AOL and Viacom in charge of anything at MySpace resembles anything close to stealth mode.

Remember, most of these guys and gals have never, ever worked at a start-up. If they have, they are far removed from those experiences and can now sit back and collect six figure salaries to try to stem the exodus to other social media sites, which have been chipping away at their lead. How would they know what start-up even feels like? Nice to want to be something your not, especially in the face of competition from Facebook, whose “Pages” are quietly becoming the new port of call for many recording artists–many of whom have tired of paying someone a couple of grand for a tricked out MySpace page, when what they really need are simple artist tools to aggregate an audience, then promote and share their events. Can you say or event EventBrite?

To me, MySpace is an entertainment destination. Certainly a necessity for artists, actors, comedians, photographers and other media-centric folk, but Facebook has overtaken the service in terms of functionality and usability as a true social network. For example, the other day, I was looking for a Twitter app for my MySpace page. First, trying to figure out where the application directory is was confusing. Once in the director, I entered Twitter into the search box. The search returned the same application home page twice. It wasn’t until the third time that I found a couple of hits on a Twitter app. I quickly learned that whoever are developing these apps on the Open Social platform are not as sophisticated as Facebook developers. The “iTwitter” app I selected required me to unblock my status on Twitter, in order for it to feed my Twitter data into the app on my MySpace profile page. And, I learned that I couldn’t move the app up or down the page, as Facebook allows, when you’re logged in to your profile.

In comparison, I’ve been Twittering to my Facebook without an issue since the first Twitter app was created. Enuff said. And, with TweetDeck, I have the functionality of both. Where is MySpace in making a relationship with TweetDeck? With anyone for that matter? This is what happens. Control, control, and more control. Once social media companies are snapped up by larger concernes, they lose their mojo. While some argue that Facebook is stupid for not taking the money, I argue that they have a smart plan to be the best at what they do. If you focus on what you’re good at and you don’t sell out (can anyone say Google?), then you will win in the public markets in the end. MySpace now has lost the opportunity to go public. Facebook–if it goes public–will be Google-esque in their command of the social media marketplace. I’ll admit I could have learned a thing or two from that strategy with Netmix back in the day. Fortunately, I have a second chance. Most people don’t get a second chance.

Needless to say, MySpace is light years behind Facebook now in functionality and usability. Where Facebook is almost a perfect (is anything every really perfect?) social media interface and Twitter makes social networking simple, MySpace lags far, far behind. MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta is correct in saying that MySpace is a bloated company. If they can’t get their app search correct, which is one of the simplest of concepts, how do they expect to compete against the next generation? They have a lot of ground to cover, that’s for sure.

Check the Gawker post or read the story at

Speaking of closures, I just found out from a friend who worked at Ticketmaster owned and operated, Echo Music, that the company is jettisoning over 200 artists with hosted web sites from division and merges the company with it’s L.A.-based Entertainment division. May artists have been left in the lurch, scrambling to build new web sites or redirect their domains to their MySpace pages. We think Echo Music made a huge mistake being acquired by Ticketmaster. This is what happens when you look for the big payday. You can be out of a job in less time than it takes for a scalper to score 100 front row seats to a Miley Cyrus concert. For more on the Echo Music shutdown, check the String Theory Media blog. They’ve got the in-depth scoop.

— by Tony Zeoli

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