MySpace Music Revolution

Lily Allen.

In some circles it might be sporting to bash an online branch of the Rupert Murdoch empire. Musicians, however, don't bash MySpace. They've turned it to their own ends. It is the single greatest tool for musicians since the advent of PC-based recording. Everybody from aspiring hopefuls to superstars uses MySpace pages to connect with fans. The often clumsy, cluttered pages are the online version of the New York City subway, a technological equalizer where everybody rides shoulder-to-shoulder.

This five-year-old site stands alone as a tool for musicians. It is to musicians what a Phillips screwdriver is to a carpenter. A number of bands have no proper web site and use only MySpace. And why not? It is simple to operate, extremely user friendly, and free.

Recently, MySpace has moved from mere promotion to outright commerce. Mass distribution is no longer the sole domain of major music companies. Snocap, co-founded by Napster creator Shawn Fanning, allows artists to sell digital downloads right from their MySpace page. recently entered the scene when it allowed users to buy the new James Blunt album at his MySpace page.

With these tools, the more entrepreneurial bands can eliminate the middleman—the record label—and go directly to consumers. This works particularly well for relatively unknown bands with a local following and modest goals. MySpace is also a godsend for struggling artists who just want to be heard.

Photo of John Mayer
John Mayer.

Even for stars, MySpace is a fabulous way to reach people. John Mayer posts long, rambling blog entries to his MySpace page; new U.K. star Lily Allen posts frantic, emotional rants on hers. Their fans can't get enough.

All of this comes from a perfect confluence of factors. The do-it-yourself genius of MySpace is magnified by inexpensive home recording tools, the high penetration of home computers, and the growth of speedy broadband connections. For music fans who dig deep for the exotic and hard-to-find, the combination of Google and MySpace presents a universe of new music that can reach across political boundaries and oceans.

Glenn Peoples wrote this article as part of Liberate Your Space, the Winter 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Glenn is editor of the music blog

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