articles, music

The Only Thing I Miss About MySpace

Now that I have a slightly longer commute I’ve been listening to more radio to pass the time, flipping between St. Louis’s college radio, talk radio, oldies, soft rock, Christian, pop, alternative, and variety stations. As a consumer of music there are a plethora of observations I could make on any given day, such as Michael Jackson’s influence on Christian 80’s pop, or the strange growing convergence between modern country and modern CCM, or the turnover of last decade’s hits into this decade’s variety playlists. These are all things I thought about during my driving today, but the one I want to blog about has to do with MySpace.

This afternoon 106.5 The Arch played “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. Now even this singular song could lead my wandering brain along any number of memory lanes, from high school to American Idol to the rise of the digital single to the economics of one hit wonders. But on this particular day the song reminded me of the good old glory days of MySpace and the Profile Song.

Long, long ago in the forgotten age of 2006, cool bands had MySpace pages where you could legally stream four whole song, and cool people had MySpace pages where they could pick one of those band’s streaming songs to start playing automatically when a friend visited their page.

It was an incredible way to share, promote, and discover new music, because instead of saying “hey click here to listen to this awesome new song” you could literally force them to at least listen to the intro – it was opt-out instead of opt-in. But it wasn’t spammy or annoying because the person visiting your page was probably your friend and had chosen to visit your profile to communicate with you – the encompassing structure was still opt-in.

At one time one of my friends had “Bad Day” as her profile song and I remember visiting her page sometimes
as a sort-of pump-up song while I was getting ready for work. Another of my friends told me that he bought a song off iTunes once because he had heard it on a friend’s page so many times that he grew to like it. I remember the days of heavy strategizing over my profile song choice depending on what song I wanted to expose to “the masses” and what songs my favorite bands had available.

Well, MySpace lost the cool factor to Facebook and nothing’s been the same since, because everything else is double opt-in – you have to choose to visit the page that promotes the music (say, my Facebook page, or this blog) and then you have to choose to listen to whatever music is being promoted. Maybe that amount of choice is really better for consumers, but I still miss the days when I could force anyone who chose to visit my social networking profile page to hear my latest favorite song.