Thursday, June 13, 2013

Farewell MySpace

Well, they did it, the bloody fools, they finally did it.

After months of me telling anyone who will listen that users of MySpace Classic couldn't be 'forcibly upgraded' to the New site, I woke up to find they'd done exactly that.

Made me look an idiot, I can tell you.

For months I'd tried to reassure the 'panicking villagers' that they had nothing to worry about. 

The old MySpace was broken. We knew that. They knew that. The only way forward was for them to build a completely new site from scratch. I get it. But at the same time, we were promised that Classic MySpace was 'safe' and I believed them.

All along, the new owners of MySpace followed their own path without taking into consideration what the existing occupants thought about it. In fact, they made it virtually impossible for those 'Classic' MySpacers to stay informed about what they had in mind for the long term.

Then they switched everyone overnight to the new site without so much as a by-your-leave. That is despicable.

So do they expect current users to embrace this exciting news with open arms and blindly join a site that doesn't have anything to offer them as bloggers, poets, musicians and artists?

No, I don't think they do actually.

Behind closed doors they're probably calling this a successful cull. In one fell swoop, they've got rid of all the folks who didn't welcome 'change' and they can now go about the business of repopulating MySpace with twenty-something R&B fans.

Timberlake Towers clearly have absolutely no idea what folks outside of Beverly Hills expect of a 'social media' site. They don't appear to care. They have their own agenda about what they want the site to be. The existing users were getting in the way of those plans.

I wrote in these very pages that there were probably technical reasons why people couldn't be 'switched' to the New site without having a choice in the matter. 

I was wrong, apparently.

I also argued that there are ethical reasons why it shouldn't be done. 

The site is full of user-created content, particularly a huge catalogue of music owned by the people that put it there.

MySpace don't own that music, but they want to control who gets to hear it and where it's kept, regardless of the wishes of the copyright owners. 

Much of that music was posted on old MySpace profiles years ago, when only the artist could decide who got to share it, hear it, download it. It's still there in the catalogue unless the artist decides to remove it themselves. 

The New MySpace site has been created as a means of exploiting the sad fact that much of that music was abandoned during a previous exodus of disgruntled users.

That catalogue contains a broad mixture of every kind of music. But it is quantity rather than quality that matters to them. First and foremost, that entire catalogue is a tradeable commodity. That is how 'social media' sites are viewed by the business community now, as we witnessed recently when Tumblr founder David Karp sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. There's another nice ready-made site full of other people's creativity.

I have absolutely no moral objection to sharing my music or other media freely on the internet. I already do exactly that, across several sites. But I have no wish to relinquish control of that content so that a few marketing executives can profit from it. I've personally never made any money from my own music. I'm not so naive as to believe that my music has any marketable merit. It's always been just a bit of fun to me, but I recognise that there's no point in doing this stuff unless someone else gets to hear it, and that's why it's "out there". But not to be exploited for the gain of others.

I therefore choose to remove my music from the MySpace catalogue and to close my account.

Farewell MySpace. You've been my favourite waste of time for seven long years. But you betrayed a lot of people this morning and no one is going to forgive that.

Here's a short reading list of stuff about internet ethics and copyright issues:-

AIMP Copyright Corner
Fair Trade Music 
Principles For An Ethical & Sustainable Internet

On the other hand, why not just follow The Trichordist's blog on WordPress?


  1. Sorry about that matey... I got told by blogger to take that one down (bad boy Drude)
    Here is the latest ~ spread the word ;o) "MySpace Theme for tumblr"

  2. Looks like they're getting pretty spiteful about all these My____ clones. "The Administrator" has been told that his name, URL and even the 'fav-icon' are an infringement of copyright.