Why MySpace Hates Musicians
Industry pundit Andrew Dubber is like Christopher Hitchens and Sh*t my Dad Says rolled into one human being—brash intellectualism and erudite philosophy, filled with moments of 'I-can’t-believe-he-just-said-that.' His contribution to Music Think Tank last week is no exception. In it, Dubber pulls the curtain down and starts throwing punches at MySpace and doesn’t let up. And, deservingly so. He makes the point that, contrary to any belief...
The social network has nothing to do with helping people connect to their friends or helping musicians reach out to their fans; it’s owned by a corporation and we’re their product—the audience. The customer is the other companies that want to place their pixelated banner ads in front of our eyeballs.
For musicians, that means that it doesn’t matter if they are green and don’t eat meat—MySpace has all the right to sell your fans the products of the very companies that are burning the world down and inform them of the best place to buy rib eye steaks if they see fit. It doesn’t really matter.
In the larger scheme, just by participating in putting up your music on MySpace, which is part-owned by major record labels, your funding the production of the very lowest-common-denominator pop and commercial music that you hate.
Even though the Product Manager at MySpace Music is a musician and understands the trials of being an indie musician and having a day job, he is unable to make any kind of meaningful change to the social network.
Dubber plainly insinuates that MySpace is a turd that has been rolled in glitter.
You can’t polish it—at all—but you can make it sparkle. He writes, “the fact is—MySpace is not an internet service for artists and fans despite what it may appear to do on the surface.” Basically, it’s a broadcast medium, like radio, without any of the benefits. You’d like to think that you’re selling music and identity to socially distraught and lost teenagers, but if you look a little closer it will become obvious that MySpace is selling them chocolate bars and Mnt Dew.
On radio, the customers are still the advertisers, but the reward for getting played is that you get access to their wide-audience. On MySpace, you bring your own audience into the equation and don’t even get the braagging rights of a hit single.
If you want a platform for musicians, Dubber suggests that you go elsewhere. For the immediate future, keeping your profile up serves the purpose of being found easily in Google. But, it also serves to fund Ke$ha’s next album, killing baby seals, and plundering the planet’s resources—all under the guise of keeping you in touch with your friends and empowering musicians—but not really. Read on.