MySpace’s One Million Users: Is More Really Better?

MySpace Music

Image from: MySpace

The Internet has been a buzz recently with news that MySpace has acquired 1 million users as of December of 2011. Given that they’ve been on the down-swing for past two plus years, one would think this would be an indication that things are turning around. With a new music player in the market, one that includes a Facebook integration, MySpace is clearly moving away from being a contender in the social networking space and toward the music streaming space.

I admit it, l’m a skeptic! When I first heard news of the 1 million new users I definitely thought, “Really?!”

From a statistical stand-point, there are a number of ways to make numbers dance. While we’re on the topic of adding users to the service I often wonder what counting methodology is used for coming to this number. In particular, I’d wonder if they are double-counting individuals or some how changing the way they’re calculating “new users”. For example, is the current user base exhibiting certain behaviors such as dumping and re-adding accounts? While seemingly unintuitive, I’ve found that this is a common practice in the social space.  Are users that have been inactive counted as new? Have the parameters for how long a user has been inactive before they’re counted as new changed? While there are a number of questions about how this one million is calculated that we’re likely to not get answers on, lets turn to the competitive data to take a temperature on performance.

To take a look the site’s overall performance in terms of popularity, loyalty, and engagement below are the graphs for the past two years of activity for UV’s, visits, and average stay respectively.

UV’s -54% YOY and down -5% MOM
Uvs to MySpace.com

Visits -81% YOY and down -6% MOM
Visits to MySpace.com

Average Stay -46% YOY and down -4% MOM

Average Stay to MySpace.com

The new competitive landscape MySpace vs. Other Music Streaming Services.

In this comparison, MySpace and Pandora are clear leaders in the space however we’re unable to see a music player engagement count on Spofity. We all know that Spotify’s popularity has been growing significantly since it’s release in June 2011, however the application player being 100% desktop application obfuscates our ability to understand user engagement with the service. Actually, many of these other services offer both a music player in browser as well as a desktop-application, but for sake of comparison we’ll focus on the segment of users that use the site as a primary streaming source.

In terms of incoming traffic, there aren’t any indications in January’s data of prospective partnerships that drove traffic and new users to MySpace.com. Moreover it’s curious that the speculated the size of MySpace’s user base at around 30 million, if we take the reported 1 million “new” users and divide it by the speculated user base this increase would be about a 3% bump. Given that we aren’t seeing lift in Compete.com numbers or other competitive sources for that matter, it’s concerning that the organization is boasting such growth.

UVs to MySpace and Other Music Services
What Pandora lacks in popularity it makes up in loyalty, users come back on average almost 7 times a month, thus beating out all the other services by a healthy margin. Additionally, they have a desktop application for paid users so again, we’re missing a full read on this activity and I’d venture a guess that paid users of the service are significantly more engaged.

Visits to MySpace and Other Music Services
I acknowledge that MySpace is in transition, and while I’ve called into question their method of counting these one million new users, I’m not willing to pronounce MySpace dead yet. I think it could shift it’s brand image and contend with the other music streaming services, though I have both questions and reservations, such as:

  • What will be their monetizing strategy? Having the largest library of free music to stream, likely won’t work long term.
  • How will they garner attention? They aren’t new to the market, and have significant work to do in terms of changing people’s attitude about the brand.  As a side note, I gave the music player a shake and it’s pretty nifty. Thus far they only have converted about 2% of my Facebook friends, I think they would have created better buzz by releasing the player beta invites to a small sub-set of the user base to promote exclusivity (something the brand has never quite got the hang of touting).
  • What’s the competitive and/or user incentive?  Outside of the largest music library what will make the “new” MySpace sticky? Are we placated in thinking that more is somehow better?
  • What do you think? Do you share my skepticism on the methodology behind the one million new user, or do you trust the calculation? Leave me your Comments below or @ me on twitter.
About Lindsey Mark:
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for compete.com, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.

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  1. Kevin

    So you worship at the altar of Compete.com. Let me enlighten you as to the rest of the web:

    MySpace is still in the top 10 Social networking sites, beating out Google+, according to Nielsen:
    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/nielsens-tops-of-2011-digital/
    (Scroll down to the chart were MySpace is mentioned.)

    A recent survey of Internet Privacy issues showed MySpace still used by a healthy one-third of those in the study:
    http://blog.usamp.com/blog/2012/01/30/infographic-usamp-datapoint-study-finds-gender-gap-over-social-media-privacy/

    MySpace is #16 on Seomoz:
    http://www.seomoz.org/top500

    And is in the Top 7 trending brands on Twitter:
    http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2012/01/10/the-top-15-trending-brands-on-twitter-according-to-hootsuite-infographic/

    Google lists MySpace as #61 out of the Top 1000 sites worldwide, with over 45 Million unique visitors and over 1 Billion page views! It’s still ahead of Tumblr & HuffPo. Surprisingly, Reddit is nowhere in sight:
    http://www.google.com/adplanner/static/top1000/
    Just looking at that list and counting Social networking sites, MySpace comes in at number 5.

    And it’s still beating out Tumblr & Google+ according to CommScore:
    http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/myspace-more-unique-visitors-than-google-and-tumblr-1054456#form-wrap-commentform

    MySpace TV is also mentioned postively in these articles:
    http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/18/the-view-from-ces-the-top-trends-in-technology-for-2012/
    http://www.v-net.tv/myspace-unveils-soctv-and-second-screen-sync/

    Reply

    • Lindsey Mark

      Hello Kevin,

      Let’s rejoice and be glad for moment, that this article has spawned such as wonderful debate!

      Please remember, that never was it stated that MySpace isn’t a top ranked social network. On the contrary compete ranks them #4 in the personal networking category. This however doesn’t mean that they haven’t lost a huge portion of users and a ton of traffic in the past few years. In the last 24 months, they lost a sizable lead in UV’s over twitter and were passed for the #2 slot in June of last year.

      I have faith that we can get on the same page about the intent of this article being a questioning of the statistical likely-hood that MySpace at about 30 million users increased their user base by 3% month over month. When numerous competitive sources (not just Compete) have their analytics trending somewhat flat between months they claim to have gained these “new” users. It’s our responsibility as citizen reporters and analysts to question the validity of bold claims. While you may not like that I’m asking hard questions, it’d be unfortunate if claims like these went unexplained simply because I’m still on MySpace

      I’m sure that there’s a part of you that can see past your own appreciation of MySpace as a user and brand ambassador. Please acknowledge that the aforementioned article is positioned to question the overall vision and direction of a social network that has been yet again, recently acquired. What I’m actually REALLY wondering is if the news that they have 1 million (net) new users a way to garner more attention for the newly released player, and are they conveniently not counting any users that have become inactive or have closed their accounts.

      I’ve actually worked in the social space in the past as a freelance and was given insight into how a decent percentage of the user base abandons and duplicates accounts for different reasons. Take twitter for example, they are organized by email address, yet I numerous accounts and several of my friends do as well.

      What we really need to do is simply live for today, because the battle for users, brand recognition, and top rankings in the social and music space are no where near over. I really appreciate your time an feedback, I’ll be sure to review your resources about MySpace may possibly use them for follow-up analysis.

      Reply