Apr
13

Death of MySpace Decapitates The Underground

April 13, 2010 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  27 Comments

About a year ago a guy named Elvis Proctor started a record label called Pint of Happiness. The idea was simple: a record label for the masses; a way for underground artists to get their music to their fans without going through the hassles of dealing with traditional music labels. The idea was great. Execution has been another story. In a year, the label has sold only 1 CD and one digital album.

There’s a couple of problems facing Pint of Happiness: First is they have some great artists like Ronnie Hymes and the Phil Davis Band, but then they have some, um, not so great artist. When you open the barn door wide to all takers, you can have the problem of the weeds choking out the grass. Just because you have a guitar, microphone, and a few songs, doesn’t mean those songs deserve to be considered by the masses. Nothing replaces hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that many underground bands have put out in tireless touring, and thousands of dollars on recording to get their music out there. Artists also must be able to take heavy handed, constructive criticism like this, and use it to their advantage.

But the second problem, and maybe main problem facing Pint of Happiness and many other underground projects like it is that their main marketing arm was MySpace.

I have been chronicling the decline of MySpace and its effect on music for some time. But MySpace is declining no longer, it is dead, and its devastating effect on independent music can only be described as awesome. If I could find a way to string together a conspiracy theory of how corporate music has purposefully destroyed MySpace, it would make perfect sense because of the degree of negative effect it has had on independent/underground music. But really, corporate music is not to blame, it is the fickle, fleeting consumer.

It makes me sick to my music stomach to think that there are great artists and bands trying to come up through the ranks right now that will not have the opportunity MySpace afforded other bands just a couple of years ago. MySpace evened the playing field for so many talented artists. You still had to have good music, still had to have the drive. But you no longer needed corporate radio or labels to get your music to the masses.

We have de-evolved in the music world. Because consumers with short attention spans and no eyes on the big picture have followed whatever new social networking fad that has been dangled in front of them, years of growth and expansion of underground/independent music is melting away to worthless chirping on Twitter, and ugly voyeuristic pointing and laughing at your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s outdated hairdo on Facebook. I thought it was all about the music?

And though you can find many websites that will quote you statistics on how MySpace is declining, virtually nobody is talking about the cultural impact such a decline is causing. Accessible technology was the tool that was going to deliver us from the evil control of corporate music. And it did, until . . .

The worst part has been the breakdown in communication. You used to be able to get the word out and get everybody moving in one direction with a common purpose so easily on MySpace. Today, you have to hit half a dozen different platforms to get to the same people, and it is still an uphill battle against apathy.

I know MySpace has it’s warts, always has. This really isn’t a Facebook vs MySpace argument; it is more an argument of what role we want art to play in our lives. I don’t give a damn who owns MySpace, I care about the bands it brought to me and the friends that I made through the music that feel like family now. You just can’t laugh that off, or disregard it as a fad.

So when someone mentions MySpace to you, don’t say “That’s so 2008.” Say a prayer, and thank it for all the great music, and great people it has brought into your life. And hope that someday, something, weather it is a resurgence in MySpace or something else, gets us all back on the same page, under the same tent, around that same campfire again. Those were good times.

RIP MySpace.

27 Comments to “Death of MySpace Decapitates The Underground”

  • well done, hombre. it is indeed a sad thing to see the mindless win in what used to be about your mind and perhaps expanding it. and not with chemicals either. but with words and music with some art thrown in for good measure. we are the worse for it. are the suits always going to win?

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  • The suits had this win thrown in their laps. Didn’t even have to work for it. That might be the worst of it. If we’re going to give up ground, let’s a least make them fight for it.

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  • It is harder to reach certain people indeed. You are right, I thought it is the same with the other people as with me, and that we got stuck in work, and have less time to internet anyway, I have to work overtime many times and that is consuming time more than I thought. Like you said My Space brought me many friends, and music like I otherwise never had known, I hope it is asleep, needs a little rest and then come back again, the right way, I also belong to the people who are not enough busy with My Space, but the people and friends it brought to me, the music, all has still my heart, nothing can change that. I am spreading the word also on the Dutch site, I mention your Saving Country Music site to the people who want to know more. At least to forward it, there is a lot of work in that, specially when you have a slow computer like me….:), sometimes you maybe think I was gone, but I am still there.
    I hope the great music will survive weither it is through My Space or not. Keep on Keepin’ On…

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  • Good to hear from you Restless. You’re one of those people that are friends that feel like family that I mentioned above.

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  • I hear you brother, and I feel it too. But for me myspace ain’t dead. I still use it to search out new bands, and it’s still how I get to your posts. I also still get hits and listens on my own site, but not like it used to be. I axed my facebook profile a while back, and that felt great. Myspace opened the door to get my music out, and also turned me on to bands I never would have heard of. Thanks mainly to yourself, and Darren of Section 08 Productions. Keep it up man.

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  • Maybe I’m calling it dead for dramatics, just like calling country music dead. For sure there’s still a pulse over there, a faint pulse, but a pulse nonetheless. Likely as long as MySpace exists I will post links to my blogs and bulletins and such over there. But I remember when I first started this thing. I would get more interest when I had 300 friends than I do now at 1600.

    I could see MySpace coming back, but it is going to be very difficult. The tribe has been scattered. It’s a shame.

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  • Gotta agree with Monica, I’ve been hoping myspace will wake from its long winter nap.

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  • Oddly enough I hadn’t really thought of MySpace’s doom and the impact on independent music until reading this. It does suck to have such a streamlined and centralized force ripped out of the networking scheme. I do wonder what they’re gonna try and do to regain some relevance, which is what they said a little while back they were gonna do, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on them being able to recapture a lot of ground.

    It’s gonna be tough to make up the lost ground that MySpace’s decline has caused. It’ll involve a lot of activity and inventiveness on the part of everyone, fans included.

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  • MY PULSE IS STILL ON MYSPACE… I still have friend request every day… and the music is still there… you’re right it’s all about the music man !!!

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  • I still have a pulse over there too Wayne, hoping for a turn around. But we are some of the last few. I get friend requests every day as well, but for every friend request, another friend closes their account. I’ve been treading water with my friend count for about a year.

    We have to be realistic about the situation and plan for the future.

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  • I met alot of people on myspace when we first started doing the show. It really helped me get the show off the ground as well. I have to admit I dont use it like I use to but it was instrumental in the growth of IBWIP.com. If it wasnt for myspace I dont think I would have made such good friends, contacted and found new bands, and most of all found SCM.com. I give a moment of silence to myspace.

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  • Same here. This website may not exist without MySpace, and if it did exist, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as popular. I owe it almost all to MySpace. I never loved it, it always drove me crazy, but it was indispensable.

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  • buy a record.
    you could help elvis and all the folks there makin’ music.
    buy a record.
    ’cause you support indy labels.
    buy a record.
    ’cause there’s a difference between sayin’ what you’re gonna do, sayin’ what you’re doin’, and sayin’ what ya done.
    buy a record.
    ’cause we won’t stand by and watch.
    this is the life, and death of myspace.
    i almost bought a record yesterday.

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  • I was fine at Myspace and still am, I was just dragged here through links of tyrrany lol. I hate facebook.

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  • VERY TRUE! Come on people.

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  • I HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE BUT MOSTLY FOR FAMILY..MY DAUGHTER IN LAW PUTS UP PICS OF MY GRAND CHILDREN THERE..I WOULD PREFER TO SAY FUCK FACEBOOK,I RARELY USE IT..MY PULSE IS STILL ON MYSPACE..PEOPLE NEVER UNDERSTAND WHEN THEY ARE WELL OFF..THEY HAVE TO KEEP STARTING MORE AND MORE WEBSITES UNTIL YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE OR WHICH WAY TO GO..YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD ABOUT PINT OF HAPPINESS..I WAS REPOSTING EVERY DAY FOR HIM UNTIL HE ADDED A SON OF A BITCH I DON’T LIKE..THEN THERE ARE SOME THAT CAN’T CARRY A TUNE IN A JAR,GOOD OLE BOYS BUT CAN’T SING A LICK..NOT A FUCKIN’ LICK..

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  • Am I the Son Of A Bitch you were referring to?

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  • I really think not only myspace but all social networking will start to decline for the masses soon. It just becomes too intrusive to your privacy and frankly kind of boring, what do I really care if you had a super tasty breakfast this morning or that your cat is sick. The photos and keeping in touch is one thing but the mindless details will have to wear thin in the end. Myspace serves/served a great function outside of social networking in allowing bands the ability to get music out to current and future fans quickly and cheaply along with pointing the listener in the direction of similar bands. In the future they should retool it into MyBandSpace, and have it just music and fans, no ‘friends’. You could see what bands fans of bands you like are into and also the bands could list bands they like.

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  • When I first got on MySpace, it was very early on and it never occurred to me that it would be used for anything BUT bands, bands networking with other bands, and fans networking with the bands they liked. That’s how MySpace was set up. When it went viral with the high school kids is when it became something different.

    MySpace, like so many companies do once they get big, started to get away from what made them big, and started trying to mimic their competition. The MySpace bulletin board used to be this powerful thing. Now it has been diluted with their “Stream” which is a complete ripoff of what Twitter and Facebook do.

    MySpace has come out and said they are going to refocus on the music side of things to try to save the site, but at this point, I see more words than action, and even if they made all the right moves, it might still be too late.

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  • i’m sure people are tired of seeing REINSTATE HANK and HANK III ‘stuff’ on facebook, but too bad cuz that’s what wayne & i use it for….i hate all the drama so i just stick to my HANK ‘stuff’. If they don’t like it, delete me…

    i’m not on as much due to work but i am very grateful to myspace for the music and the REINSTATE HANK folks and HANK III fans/network!!! and i’m glad you got Saving Country Music up and going when you did triggerman :)

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  • I agree with what you have to say about myspace 100%. Although the comment about me taking on all comers is not true I turn down more than I take. I support true underground artists which includes garage style recordings,metal,punk, country & noise. And as far as the masses screw the masses Im releasing real music and art!!!! And I will address this also I appreciate all the support I and my artists are given but just because someone doesnt like one of the artists doesnt mean to drop support or expect me to drop the artist I have never comprimised and never will!!!!! Nice site and forum you have here and thanks for mentioning us!!!!

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  • The only thing I ever liked about myspace was the musical aspect. Until then it was virtually impossible to hear unsigned bands. Myspace introduced me to the best music blog out there in my humble opinion (this one), and also a couple of people I just met in the states at Viva Las Vegas. The reason I rarely check my account anymore is because of the creepy stalkers. Everytime I log in I have several unsolicited messages from creeps saying they like my profile and want to get to know me. Yeah right – my profile is set to private! I never saw Myspace as as social networking site – just a music one.

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  • New here, but intrigued by the question. Love her or hate her, MySpace got Taylor Swift to where she is at. Many songwriters at NSAI use MySpace to put their songs out there where others can hear them (and some are only writers, not performers).

    Back to Taylor Swift: MySpace was a key to doing an “end-around” to bypass the Nashville bureaucracy and “let the fans decide” rather than letting industry bureaucrats decide. What other options exist for that to happen in today’s environment?

    No doubt, the freebie-ness of MySpace and FB invite amateurs, but is that the price that gets for the market to decide what is important to their ears-minds-hearts?

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  • Great point John. I would probably fall on the “hate her” side of Taylor, but no question she is the best example of the power that MySpace afforded independent artists (after all Big Machine is NOT a legacy major label) in getting their music to the masses.

    I’m afraid now that channel is gone, and the music will suffer for it, at least until something else comes along to replace it.

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  • Good article Trigger. We may not always agree, but this subject needed to be addressed. Myspace is still the first place I go to listen to new bands, and research clubs for booking. I hated it, until I had some music to promote. Now it’s rather sad to see it decline. Reverbnation is growing on me, but it’s only comparable by the lack of activity. You almost have to have all these sites linked togather to float whoever’s boat. The indie world does suffer badly, especially when it’s drowned out by random thoughts from your “friends” mundane life.

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  • I agree that MySpace is a loss. But, they also didn’t change with the technology and suffered for it. I don’t know if that was a budget thing or poor business insight on their part. It’s a cyclical industry. I do think we have enough traction and sticktogetherness to use Facebook or Reverb Nation. I would default to FB only because I already see a bunch of us finding each other again.

    And no matter what the popular networking site is, we have here Mr. Triggerman and the like to keep us in the loop. :) Thanks always man.

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  • Damn! I had never read this. Thanks for the kind words!

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