Most people probably didn't notice but for us music junkies, a disaster happened this morning. MySpace was down for at least an hour or so.
I know- that sounds like piddly crap, especially when Facebook and Twitter have overtaken it as the hottest social media sites out there (Google Buzz hit a bump with privacy concerns after its launch). But despite this, MySpace still has millions of users and it's still an important and easy way for bands to get the word out about their music simply by posting it there to stream for free. In fact, as SXSW is coming up and I always like to remind bands how a bad homepage is no substitute for a no-frills MySpace page with a few of their songs on it.
But back to MySpace's problems... They've had a lot of 'em lately, especially with top execs fleeing or being fired. They're now trying to reposition themselves as a 'discovery' site, which ain't too far-fetched. I still learn about a lot of great bands that I've never heard of before through their service.
But when they went down this morning (EST), I was frustrated because I rely on them so much. I wondered about being so reliant on them and if bands should be so reliant on them. As I said, despite the disses they get now that Facebook's overtaken them, they're still an important resource and any band would be stupid NOT to have a MySpace site. But should we all rely on MS alone for our music needs? Of course not. There's so many other places to get your fix online now (Last.FM, Pandora, Lala, Napster, Rhapsody, Spotify, etc..) so that if Fox/Murdoch decide that they're losing too much money from MS and either close it down or tamper with it too much (i.e. use paywalls or metered service), both bands and music fans aren't necessarily out in the cold when it comes to music. In fact, it's probably healthy to have many online destinations for bands to share music and fans to discover them. Facebook hasn't quite figured this out yet but rest assured, they're working on something.
As such, MS would be wise to stay with their tried-and-true formula and build on it. As for fans and bands, remember that MS is out there but don't let it be your be-all and end-all for your music jones.
UPDATE: As I'm listening to bands that are playing at SXSW, I'm now noticing that a number of their homepages include links to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube but not MySpace. In many cases, they do have a MySpace page but I find it interesting that they don't think it's necessary to list the info on their website anymore.