Soundcloud and Bandcamp: Usurpers of MySpace’s online music throne

A music blogger recently tweeted, “Tried to play a song by a band on MySpace but it didn’t work cos’ MySpace is a mess.”

That one sentence, in essence, encapsulates the downfall of social networking website MySpace in one fell swoop. It was once the first-choice destination for music fans to listen to new tunes, but now, with a new, muddled interface and lagging numbers, its death is on the horizon.

Soundcloud
Image courtesy of Flickr user lizbadley

Figures revealed last week showed that MySpace lost a staggering ten million users between January and February this year. It was once the place where every band uploaded their music, but with MySpace seemingly on the verge of toppling, who is in line to take their throne?

Soundcloud is emerging as a leader in the field. Once slightly confusing, its clean interface and social networking integration has made music streaming easier than ever before. And with the ability for users to send tracks in a DropBox style way to record labels, it brings bands ever closer to the higher powers.

Bandcamp brings commerce into the equation and allows punters to stream bands’ music before they buy either digitally or physically. It ignores off the clunkiness of MySpace and is a one-stop-shop for bands to ply their wares.

And to Facebook – the social networking website with MySpace blood on its hands. It stole their users, but did it steal its bands? Facebook traditionally lags behind on band pages and it seems heavily reliant on third-party apps to let bands list their events and stream music. Advances on Facebook’s pages always seem to be slowly rolled out, but it is clear the website’s strength is in social networking, not music.

MySpace is still alive, but barely breathing. Soundcloud and Bandcamp however, seem to be billowing with life.

MySpace and Facebook team-up: Flogging a dead horse?

It might be akin to flogging a dead horse, but the more eagle-eyed social networking fans out there may have noticed that MySpace has had a bit of a facelift in an effort to reassert its position as a web heavyweight.

MySpace is a veteran of the social networking scene but the emergence of Facebook and Twitter has seen its popularity wane to a point where some of it’s most devoted users – especially bands and musicians – have begun to jump ship.

MySpace-Facebook

A lot of MySpace’s roots lie in music and entertainment, but with the likes of Bandcamp and Soundcloud offering simple, clean homes for streaming music, MySpace have been left wondering where to go next to reclaim all its lost souls.

And where does the revamp point to? Well, a lot of music it seems. In comes a new ‘Discover’ section, littered a smorgasbord of links to bands, music videos and other promotional gubbins. It’s all pretty clickable, and compared to its once clumsy looking interface, it looks sleek with a mature black and grey colour scheme.

Allied with the ‘Discover’ section is the ‘My Stuff’ tab, treading upon the finer details of social networking – giving you a chance to customise your profile, upload photos, search for new friends and indulge in all the usual networking.

Delve into this new-look portal deeper and its flashy make-up begins to dissipate, leaving you with the bare bones of a floundering social networking website.

On the other side of the spectrum however, Facebook has recently announced a new, all-inclusive messaging system which incorporates chat and texts alongside your traditional messages – a logical addition in the website’s quest to truly dominate the market.

Twitter, of course, has phased in a new layout, providing greater integration, navigation and smoother interaction.

With Facebook and Twitter covering most social networking bases, plucky entrepreneurial pizzazz is needed to break into the market. Perhaps most notably, foursquare has gained popularity in 2010 and its interactivity – like a distant cousin of social networking websites – sees users check in at various locations as they move around cities, doubling up as a travel guide and also a game.

MySpace’s deviation into what seems more like a social media hub rather than a social networking website is an interesting one, but with the likes of streaming program Spotify becoming hugely popular, it’s left to ponder whether MySpace has any sort of real future.

T-Mobile Vibe Mobile – Simple, cheap and social media friendly

Following the success of the T-Mobile Vairy Touch series, ZTE have announced the launch of the T-Mobile Vibe. Part of the Vairy Touch series popularity was because they provided a pay-as-you-go mobile with mobile broadband and email at an extremely reasonable price. Being available for just £39.99, the T-Mobile Vibe is obviously continuing ZTE’s promise to provide inexpensive handsets. But will the Vibe exceed its predecessor in its compactness, quality and collection of features we have now come to expect from our mobile?

T-Mobile-Vibe

Effortless texting and rapid social networking have now become one of the most sought-after traits of modern technology and the T-Mobile Vibe certainly excels itself in these highly demanding arenas. A QWERTY keyboard naturally, provides for easy text messages, whilst a one touch icon on a 2.8 touchscreen that goes directly to a Facebook user’s login page, needless to say makes connecting to Facebook almost instant. The other popular social media sites, such as MySpace, Bebo and Twitter are available via bookmarks, lessening a social media fanatic’s angst at not being able to gain access to their favourite social media site within seconds.

Music also plays a leading role in what consumers anticipate from modern mobiles and the T-Mobile Vibe certainly doesn’t fail to live up to any contemporary audio expectations. Similar to the Vairy Touch II, users can listen to radio stations on an FM radio, as well as playing their favourite music on an MP3 player, which will also play Midi, iMelody, WAV, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP4 and 3GP files. Music libraries and photo collections can also be shared via Bluetooth connectivity.

Following in the footsteps of the Vairy Touch II, the new T-Mobile Vibe also possesses a 2MP camera, with integrated video and a 2GB memory for storing pictures and videos.

Of course the ‘lesser’ and more ‘antiquated’ features such as converting currencies, a calendar, calculator, stop watch and world clock, are also integrated into the T-Mobile Vibe, but these days, are rarely worthy of a mention.

Being available in black and pink, this stylish, simple, social media-friendly and feature-packed mobile, we suspect, at under 40 quid, will appeal to wide audience and could prove to be a popular stocking filler seller this Christmas.

Christmas tunes: MySpace vs Spotify

Ever since the swift introduction of Spotify, music listening habits have changed. It offered extensive online streaming for free, eclipsing the sometimes patchy Last.fm, and also gave the opportunity to compile and share playlists with your best of friends.

Now it’s the turn of MySpace to try and take on this audio behemoth. The social networking website has always enjoyed a prominent role in the online music community, giving bands both tiny and big a home to promote their wares.

myspace-vs-spotifyAnd now it’s attempting to break into the album-orientated world of online music streaming with it’s free MySpace Music service. Billed as ‘the world’s most comprehensive online music experience’ MySpace Music claims to not only offer a superior audio experience but also gives users a multi-media extravaganza with video content available too.

People disenchanted with Roberta et al from Spotify’s audio adverts will also be pleased to know that the only adverts on MySpace Music will be visual, whilst similar to Spotify’s link-up with 7digital, there is also inter-connectivity with iTunes, meaning in a click of a button or two you can purchase that Lady Gaga song you’ve just streamed and shamefully enjoyed too.

Seeing as Christmas is creeping so unmercifully upon us, LatestGadgets decided that the best way to test MySpace Music’s claim of musical comprehensiveness was to compile a Yuletide playlist of some Christmas classics, and well, some duds too, and see which out of Spotify and MySpace Music could most faithfully recreate this ten song strong list. There are three categories of results – a plain ‘yes’ for the original song in its full glory, a damning ‘no’ for songs completely non-existent in the catalogue, and a ‘perhaps’ for songs lacking their original but are to be found online in the form of a cover or a karaoke version.

Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York – S = yes! MM = yes!

South Park – Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo – S = yes! MM = no.

Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas – S = yes! MM = yes!

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You – S = yes! MM = yes!

Wham – Last Christmas – S = yes! MM = yes!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – S = no MM = yes!

Twisted Sister – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

Gayla Peevey – I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – S = yes! MM = no.

So there you have it – Spotify reigns supreme on the Christmas playlist test. It picked up a number of vital points on the more obscure tracks, with MySpace Music performing admirably when it came to the classics. And finding the tracks was tougher on MySpace Music too, with its web based click through system less responsive than Spotify’s clean and precise interface – meaning that compiling the office Christmas party playlist on MySpace Music whilst a little squiffy may not be the best of ideas.

So what now for MySpace Music? Even more tracks, albums and videos are bound to be added to its library in the near future, but its lack of multi-platform compatibility may herald its downfall.

With Spotify popping up on iPhones and iPod Touch’s everywhere, here and there and Last.fm recently being added to X-Box Live’s roster too, online streaming on portable devices may over time usurp the computer as the traditional hub of digital music.

With this apparent lack of multi-platform interactivity, the website’s general downturn in popularity in this Facebook-era and Spotify’s Christmas playlist victory, MySpace Music already has a long way to catch up.  As Spotify gains a large percentage of the market, maybe this festive period MySpace Music will be singing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ – but it remains to be seen how many people will actually jump ship.