The recent #10YearChallenge reminded me how much being a Myspace Musician influenced my professional career as a digital marketer.
Looking back on 2003, I wasn’t alone. At its peak, Myspace had over 100 Million users.
The now obsolete social networking platform changed how independent artists with limited resources could influence pop culture and music. Myspace was two parts LiveJournal, a smattering of Xanga, and a sprinkle of AOL Instant Messenger.
Initially considered a simple way to share interests and hobbies without investing in a website and hosting platform, the most popular features of yesterday’s social networking sites are today’s influential brand management tools.
While my band (pictured below circa 2005) never reached the heights of industry success enjoyed by the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, using Myspace early on as the group’s promotional vehicle taught me the valuable skills that I now use every day in my role as Digital Content Coordinator.
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Here are a few examples of how I went from Myspace Musician to Digital Marketer over the last decade.
Myspace offered a clean and simple interface that any user could immediately start with; but to really unlock its usefulness, a quick Google search would unveil several websites dedicated to hosting HTML code templates. Learning how to manipulate certain elements of the code meant you could change your profile’s stylistic elements as often as desired.
Whenever I’m testing tags in Google Tag Manager and examining the HTML to find the right trigger, it always reminds me of how I used to tweak, anchor, and style tags to display the perfect combination of colors, fonts, and links.
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Myspace’s Bulletins section was a primitive version of Facebook’s news feed, and artists could update their fans on the latest news. Essentially a press release platform, this tool gave account admins like me the opportunity to indicate where the next gig would take place or announce the release of a new track.
Nowadays, I’m fondly reminded of announcing shows and new music when I’m promoting the Workforce Technology Conference (my company’s annual user summit) with my colleagues through our brand’s social media networks. I’ll gladly take these modern editable newsfeeds over Myspace Bulletins. Gone are the days where my embarrassing typos were forced to live online forever!
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Myspace became an intuitive content management platform, which gave artists the newfound ability to easily create and upload mixed media. Coupled with its aforementioned “profile pimping” abilities, artists could embed additional content from third-party sites like YouTube, PhotoBucket, and ReverbNation.
Flash forward to 2019 and content management systems are now a seamless part of marketing platforms and brand management. Content upload speeds are blazingly fast compared to the 2000s. I’ll never forget the excitement (and frustration) of waiting hours upon hours for a new video to post.
The social network’s popularity peaked in 2006, surpassing Google as the most visited site but eventually lost steam with the rise of Facebook. Co-founder Tom Anderson (no, not that Tom Anderson) would eventually have his portrait named the Mona Lisa of profile pictures (we’re still trying to figure out what’s written on the whiteboard behind him).
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Myspace gave musicians like me a free platform to reach millions of new fans around the globe, while indirectly passing along digital keys to a new breed of marketers.
So, where will tomorrow’s new breed of digital marketers finely tune their skills?
Perhaps TikTok, with its ability to give users a way to create sophisticated video content with nothing more than a smartphone or, messaging apps like WeChat. The latter of which, combined with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber saw 4.1 billion users in 2018.
Wherever there’s a popular social network, you’ll certainly find tomorrow’s brand innovators.
Evan Brenner is the Digital Content Coordinator at Geographic Solutions and guest contributor to the PowerChord blog. He loves a good sunset, and puts hot sauce on nearly everything.