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Tag: MySpace Records
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Tag: "MySpace Records"

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Industrial Revolution: MySpace – The End Is Nigh

Oh MySpace. I don’t think I need to delve into your sad story because it’s a familiar tale. Even if you don’t know the details of the rise and fall of the Internet’s first smash hit social media site, you still know the story—assuming you studied ancient Rome in grade school or have watched literally any rock bio-pic film ever made. Humble beginnings, spectacular rise, crucial missteps, steep decline, public shame, optional drug overdose, likely death.

The ending is yet to be determined, of course, but demise seems inevitable. The prescient 24/7 Wall St. blog has released their yearly “Ten Brands That Will Disappear” list for 2012, and while the inclusion of such stalwarts as Sears and Kellogg’s Corn Pops might surprise many, the appearance of MySpace is no shock. But it is the first official time-of-death call, and it’s from an observer with a pretty good track record of predicting these things (for example, the disappearance of both T-Mobile and Blockbuster). Their summary is concise and worth excerpting in full:

MySpace, once the world’s largest social network, died a long time ago. It will get buried soon. News Corp (NYSE: NWS) bought MySpace and its parent in 2005 for $580 million which was considered inexpensive at the time based on the web property’s size. MySpace held the top spot among social networks based on visitors from mid-2006 until mid-2008 according to several online research services. It was overtaken by Facebook at that point. Facebook has 700 million members worldwide now and recently passed Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) as the largest website for display advertising based on revenue. News Corp was able to get an exclusive advertising deal worth $900 million shortly after it bought the property, but that was its sales high-water mark. Its audience is currently estimated to be less that 20 million visitors in the US. Why did MySpace fall so far behind Facebook? No one knows for certain. It may be that Facebook had more attractive features for people who wanted to share their identities online. It may have been that it appealed to a younger audience which tends to spend more time online. News Corp announced in February that it would sell MySpace. There were no serious bids. Rumors surfaced recently that a buyer may take the website for $100 million. The brand is worth little if anything. A buyer is likely to kill the name and fold the subscriber base into another brand. News Corp has hinted it will close MySpace if it does not find a buyer.

Indeed, just one buyer remains a possibility at present, and that is the Chairman and CEO of Activision, Bobby Kotick, who heads an investor group interested in having a stake in the company, rather than purchasing it in full (theoretically, News Corp would retain 20%). Word is that even if this investment somehow goes through, it ain’t gonna be for no $100 million. [Late-breaking update: Sure enough, News Corp. has reportedly made a deal to MySpace for $35 million to Specific Media. News Corp. is expected to retain a 5% stake.]

Rude.

What happened to MySpace? It really is hard to say. The first thing that springs to mind is the lack of a communal space (Facebook’s “Wall”) that allowed users to really feel connected to their friends. Then came the deluge of users and spammers, who were eagerly accepted as friends in order to raise that number. In that way, MySpace was a learning environment, which informed our later behavior on Facebook. We knew, by then, to be more selective, and that the number of friends you had really didn’t matter at all. Without MySpace, all those mistakes would have occurred on Facebook, which would now resemble the gaudy wasteland of MySpace (damn you, layout wizards!).

For many of us, MySpace was attractive as a music discovery site. But unfortunately the music on MySpace sounded like shit, due to their standard low-bit-rate streaming MP3s. When MySpace began to accept that they had lost the social media game to Facebook, they tried to re-focus on just music. But they had blown their credibility on that front, and many other, less tainted and cluttered sites had filled any void left by Facebook’s (initial) lack of interest in catering to music fans (Soundcloud and Bandcamp being the current leaders). The once-hyped MySpace Records has foundered and this year laid-off at least half of its staff, though is still apparently functioning as an A&R operation in partnership with Interscope Records.

The thing is, efforts like MySpace start up and close down all the time. The world gets what they want out of it, learns from it and evolves. The only reason it’s still a matter of interest is because of MySpace’s former ubiquity. It really was the first social media site to pervade the public conscious. It was also the first time artists saw the web as more than just a secondary marketing tool, opening up a world of direct fan engagement. In these ways it was a success. But for the music business, this is yet another object lesson that you need to stay ahead of the game, predicting what’s next, rather than trying to cash in on what’s already working by cobbling it together with your business model. And just like with social media, the deluge hampered the ability of quality artists to connect with willing fans. No one is certain what will happen next and how this latter situation might resolve. But here at OurStage, fan-driven music discovery—where the community evaluates and puts the good stuff up top—is our bet.

[Ed. Note: You can read MySpace CEO Mike Jones' letter to the staff regarding this week's sale to Specific Media here.]

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Best Of OurStage 2010

This year was certainly a huge one for rock on OurStage. Our 2010 competitions allowed winning artists to play with incredible acts, such as Bon Jovi, Hanson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayday Parade, Anberlin and John Mayer.

Outside of the site, our artists have received national radio airplay, scored festival performance sets and had songs placed in TV shows, commercials and movie trailers. From experimental to pop punk, here are 10 of the best OurStage rock artists from 2010!

The Worsties

The Worsties

It takes a very talented band to be able to reach the Number 1 spot on the Best of Rock Charts, and The Worsties kept that spot for 20 weeks! After having their songs placed on MTV and Oxygen, the band won the coveted opening spot for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Chicago. Take a listen to “What’s Her Face” in the player below—we guarantee you’ll be headbanging with this female-fronted rock outfit in no time.

Eclectic Approach

As their name suggests, Seattle’s Eclectic Approach pull from a variety of influences to make funky pop rock that is sure to get you off your feet. Meeting somewhere between Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas, Eclectic Approach have got it all— tight beats, catchy hooks, sweet guitar licks and smooth vocals. This year was a big for these guys thanks to six Top 10 wins, including two in the “Shout It Out with HANSON” Competition (they ended up opening for the trio in Portland, OR). Check out “Cool” in the player below and be sure to add it to your next party playlist!

Again and Again

They’ve played at the Vans Warped Tour, sold over 150,000 records and had their album mixed by top modern rock producer Marc Hudson (Chiodos, Saves the Day). They’re Again and Again from Renton, WA and they’re shaping up to be the next big electronic pop rock act. While competing in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition (they finished in the Top 10 for their region), the bad was out on tour across the US. Listen to “Excuse This Honesty” in the player below and get ready to mark your calendars with future tour dates!

Take One Car live at Bamboozle

Take One Car

Millerton, NY’s experimental rock group Take One Car have had an extremely successful year. Having released their full-length album When the Ceiling Meets The Floor last year, the band set out to tour and promote their effort as much as possible in 2010. Their hard work paid off when they were selected to perform TWICE at New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival in May (once at Hoodwink, covering At The Drive-In, and a daytime set on Saturday, as themselves). The group followed their Bamboozle performances with more touring, competing in Airwalk Unsigned Hero Contest and opening for the likes of VersaEmerge and The Gay Blades. Check out “The Menagerie” in the player below and be sure to stay tuned, because these guys (and girl) will be releasing a new album next year! They’ve also been invited back to Bamboozle for 2011, so don’t miss their set!

Transmit Now

Can you imagine watching the People’s Choice Awards and hearing your song play as Hugh Jackman accepts his award for Best Action Hero? Well, Tampa, Florida’s pop rock group Transmit Now experienced it in 2010. Additionally, they were featured in J-14 Magazine as a weekly “Hot Band” and released their first full-length album, Downtown Merry-Go-Round. Listen to “Let’s Go Out Tonight” in the player below and blast it on your next night out!

Bronze Radio Return

Bronze Radio Return won fans over in 2010 with their smooth and sultry indie rock. With a warm acoustic sound, Bronze Radio Return are easily compared to Damien Rice and Coldplay. They won the coveted John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition for the Boston date and racked up four more Top 10 wins in Acoustic, Indie Rock and Modern Rock Channels. Check out “Digital Love” in the player below by BRR, a band that MySpace Records calls one of the best unsigned groups.

Cedar Avenue

Minneapolis acoustic rock outfit Cedar Avenue had great success on OurStage this year. They opened for Hanson in Milwaukee, had their song placed on ABC’s Cougartown and had eight Top 10 wins on the site, including the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition for their region. Fronted by husband and wife team Derrin and Jesse Mathews, Cedar Avenue has also opened for sold out crowds at Augustana, A Fine Frenzy and Graham Colton concerts. Check out “Up North” in the player below and get ready to rock!

Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue

From one avenue to the next, pop rock group Orange Avenue was named as one of MTV’s newest Buzzworthy bands for 2010. They’ve shared the stage with the All American Rejects, Rihanna, Smash Mouth and more, and had three Top 10 wins on OurStage, including one for their region in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition. They also had their music featured on “MLB Tonight” and their video for “Just Refrain” was played at the Winter Olympics. Listen to the track in the player below and be on the lookout for Orange Avenue on MTV and on the radio!

The Appreciation Post

After being named Alternative Press’ Top Unsigned Band in 2009, The Appreciation Post took 2010 by storm. In addition to releasing two EPs, the group also competed in the “Converse Battle of the Bands” Competition and took home the title of champion after opening for Mayday Parade and Anberlin. Check out the synth-heavy “The Beating of a Lifetime” in the player below and check out the band’s webstore for awesome deals and free music!

The Black Rabbits

Indie rock group The Black Rabbits spent 2010 as both the winners of a year’s worth of guitar strings from Ernie Ball and one of our Needle in the Haystack artists. They were subsequently signed to Rock Ridge Music and have been working hard putting together their debut album! Listen to “Emotion” in the player below and stay tuned for new music coming soon!

We’re already looking forward to meeting the next rock stars of 2011! Who were your favorite OS rock artists this year? Let us know in the comments below!

I’m Not Nico: Meet Aja Volkman

Mike Peña may no longer be the drummer for the LA band, Nico Vega (He left the group back in 2007) but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer something near and dear to him. Peña will forever be a part of the three-piece rock groupwith Aja Volkman on vocals, Rich Koehler on guitar and Dan Epand now on drumsbecause the band is named for his mom.

This touching tribute may prove to be confusing to new fans who assume lead singer Aja is Nico. But that is no problem for Aja. “Her legacy had a tremendous impact on me as a person,” she says, “Even though she seemed like an ordinary person, she was actually a modern American saint. After I heard her story, I was able to change things about myself that I’d needed to confront for a long time. We all decided it was a beautiful name, and it made us realize that modern day saints are average people who get through huge struggles.”

Nico Vega

Nico Vega became a band in 2005. Since then they have released three EPs. Their first full-length album came out last year on MySpace Records after being discovered by mythic MySpace founder, Tom. But Tom is not the only mythic figure who has gotten behind Nico Vega. Hit songwriter/producer/former Non-Blonde Linda Perry (Pink, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera) produced three songs on the album and the rest were produced by Tchad Blake (Pearl Jam, Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel). Over the past two years, Nico Vega has played with Gavin Rossdale, Semi Precious Weapons, Shiny Toy Guns, Metric and Soundtrack of our Lives. They’ve also performed three songs on Last Call with Carson Daly.

We don’t censor what we do,” Aja says of the band’s sound. ”We’re not thinking about what’s cool. We’re thinking about what sounds good to us.”

Get to know Nico Vega’s charismatic singer and future superstar, Aja Volkman. Just don’t ask her to follow a rabbi at a Darfur benefit. Details after the jump.

Continue Reading An Interview with Aja Volkman

 


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