Is MySpace making a comeback?

With new owners and a new strategy, the music site is showing signs of life.

By Kim Peterson Feb 14, 2012 3:38PM
Image: Teens with MP3 player (© RubberBall/SuperStock)The website everyone had dismissed as irrelevant is still hanging on.

MySpace is more than hanging on, in fact. The site is signing up 40,000 new users a day and has gained 1 million new users since December. Those aren't huge numbers in the big picture, but they're enough to suggest that maybe MySpace isn't dead after all.

What turned MySpace around? All of the credit goes to MySpace's new owners -- including Justin Timberlake -- who bought the site for $35 million last June from News Corp (NWS). The deal removed one of the biggest headaches for News Corp, which spent $580 million to buy MySpace in 2005.

The new owners, who also include young investors Tim and Chris Vanderhook, wisely decided there was no way MySpace could compete with Facebook. Instead, they rejiggered MySpace into an entertainment site with a music player and ways to discover music.

MySpace decided to work with Facebook and even asks new users whether they want to connect with Facebook instead of registering on their own. And the site makes it incredibly easy for users to jump in and start listening to music. MySpace has a lot of music, with a library of about 42 million songs.

And don't forget the power of Timberlake, the actor and singer. He is an investor in the new MySpace, adding creative input and helping to develop strategy. His name alone will bring in some users.

Research firm comScore put MySpace's monthly traffic at about 25.1 million for January -- peanuts, really, compared with that of other sites. But traffic rose 4% from December -- its first monthly gain in nearly a year, The New York Times reports.

It's not much, but it's a start. And though the online music space is awfully crowded, particularly with heavyweights like Apple (AAPL) and Pandora (P), MySpace is showing that there's a little room for a name that few people thought would ever survive.

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