This feature first appeared in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Marketing magazine.

 

 

Can the former king of social media turn the tide or is time to swim elsewhere? Sean Greaney investigates.

I haven’t touched myspace in over four years. And that’s precisely what convinced me this brand was worthy of a cover story.

Social media brands have always been Icarus – even as they rise, the fans know the wings are predestined to melt. Myspace was the earliest global social media Icarus, and its descent was pointedly cheered on – and stones thrown as the News Corp parachute deployed.

So, if that is all a fait accompli, why am I interested?

As the brand that took a category to the mainstream, the history of myspace is that of social media and its relaunch is a hope to remain part of that history. Picking day dot for social media is as contentious and ideologically driven as picking Earth’s beginning. The more popularly expounded duality puts it either around the late 90s/early naughties when LiveJournal and Friendster rose, or much earlier with services such as Usenet (either way there’s definitely an element of pioneering elitism in having participated in those early days). If you subscribe to the latter, no matter when it began participating, your brand is 30 years behind the eight ball.

Some of the new media ill will toward myspace is a case of flying with the crows: the brand is owned ultimately by the poster boy of traditional media, Rupert Murdoch. But the start-up myth for which many yearn, and which offers a usefully opaque moral halo, isn’t the way myspace was birthed.

In 2002 Intermix Media (then eUniverse) employees were witnessing the success of Friendster, and thought they could do better. They were able to resource the venture quickly using Intermix Media’s infrastructure and, importantly, seed the service to 20 million of its own users and lists. It held competitions among staff, rewarding those who could sign up the most members. There’s even a belief that Tom Anderson, formerly any Myspace user’s default first friend and at the time president of the company, was really a public relations invention. Newsweek found his age had been lowered to appeal to a younger generation (when he was that generation’s age, Anderson hacked into a Chase Manhattan bank, resulting in his computer being confiscated by the FBI). This was never a garage operation. Despite general perceptions, it wasn’t a rare strike of zeitgeist-lightning for a young entrepreneur.

It’s debatable whether boarding this information up was purposeful and/or beneficial, but it certainly meant that when Murdoch swooped on the then social media darling with his $580 million talons, perceptions changed. This ‘little’ start-up was surely about to lose its soul to the global media conspiracy. It was the beginning of negative sentiment toward the brand and social media schadenfreude as Facebook overtook it. The King was dead, long live the King.

“The [proverbial] hockey stick was still going up when we joined,” says Nick Love, myspace Australia’s managing director. “So Myspace started around July ’06 in Australia in terms of local presence, and I think I ran into Rebekah [Horne, currently senior vice president, international] somewhere, and she said, ‘Right, you’re coming with me.’ I think I was working covertly for my notice period with Soundbuzz for a few months, but officially started in December ’06 running the business development function, which I did until April this year when I got promoted. So it’s been a wild ride. Business has changed quite a lot since the very beginning in those days, and the market has as well.”

Love’s career pedigree has ticked all the boxes on the way to his current position (with the exception of two years as a self-described “very bad” lawyer). There was a strategy role with Electronic Arts, before he was promoted to a role managing and launching its AFL, rugby and cricket lines, followed by “chasing the dotcom dream” in an interactive TV start-up called Ice Interactive, then a commercial role with ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association), with a final stop in an early digital music company called Soundbuzz.

When Love joined, Myspace had only been part of the News Corporation fold for six months. Paid music was still very much in force and streaming free music seemed a little… Napster-ish. Myspace was the most trafficked site in the world and the fastest growing in the world at the time, and backed that up with a delirious amount of ad inventory; it was unsurpassable in terms of digital reach.

“There was no shortage of being able to get a meeting with anyone you wanted back in those early days… I can remember going out with the News Digital Media sales team who rep’d our site early on, and going to media agencies and doing really basic social networking 101 education sessions. Because social networking was pretty small at that stage, and myspace around that time had about two million unique users and growing, primarily teenagers and young adults, and anyone outside of that age group really didn’t know anything about social networking, other than they’d heard of this thing myspace that all the kids were into, and they’d heard of the bands that had been found on myspace. But it wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today, where you hear people saying, ‘My grandmother’s on Facebook now.’ So a lot has changed in the way people use social networking and general social media in three or four years. It’s night and day.

“We also built customised communities and managed those for brands at a time when brands had no idea how to engage consumers in a community environment, and we were really helping lead a lot of their early trials and experiments with engaging with brands to where the market’s at now, where brands can build their own Facebook or myspace page and not talk to either us or Facebook… The market has grown really, really quickly from that perspective, where here we were being looked to as the guys who provided all the knowledge, at that stage, to brands. And even then, the change in the way advertisers understand it from then to now is unbelievable. Back then it was more a case of how many friends have I got? Or I built a Myspace page and nothing happened, because I just put a page up expecting community to occur naturally without understanding what was required to invest and feed, and really provoke conversation, if you like, to where it stands now. And that’s only four years.”

Keep in mind we’re discussing a brand whose peak is only two years behind it, and founding only eight years.

“A lot of brands actually didn’t even know what engagement metrics were. I can remember dealing with one client, who will remain nameless, who was just more interested in making sure we had contractual obligations around the number of friends that we generated, and they couldn’t tell us, despite asking them, what did they want to do with those friends? And then their final response was, ‘Well, you’re the experts, you tell us.’

“One thing was it’s just about the number of friends and that’s deemed success or not, as opposed to what was provided, how those users were engaged, what was the ongoing communication plan with those guys, was it tactical or long-term – a lot of brands didn’t really even know that and, even then, we had to try and educate, but sometimes it was just too different for a lot of people. But that’s to be understood; it was an industry that was just starting, and had really come from nowhere and had scaled at a rate that really no one else had ever scaled at so quickly, and a lot of marketing departments had to understand it really quickly and mistakes were made on all sides. But it was a crazy time. It seems a very structured and disciplined mature market in comparison now,” smiles Love.

Myspace’s old platform was indicative of the way this medium has been (mis)understood: generate as many users as possible, each creating new pages, content and, therefore, inventory, then sell the eyeballs. As it’s matured and became understood in the terms of just about every other content-driven media, the market has come to understand that engagement as well as demographic varies across platforms and properties. This external understanding came before myspace’s ability to internally realise a coherent offering, instead of its days covering restaurant reviews, horoscopes, weather, job boards etc. Or perhaps it’s really just the old story of a company losing focus on its core offering, which was social networking.

“At that point in time, we were really focused on a lot of tactical promotions and programs and events, like Nick mentioned,” adds Mark Bulgin, marketing director for Australia/New Zealand. “Because our audience was growing, there was nothing we could do to either accelerate or decelerate that growth. It was just happening of its own accord, the momentum was there. Whereas now we obviously face a different challenge, where we’ve had to really go back to our roots and build back up again what our brand stands for and what the site really needs to be able to focus down on and do, and deliver well to the best, most innovative, level that we aspire to now.”

The internal belief driving the brand’s relaunch is the social media realm has matured to the point where people aren’t looking for one platform to rule them all, rather the right mix and identity separation from platforms fulfilling a variety of functions: that Facebook is for connecting to people you know, Twitter for news and gossip and that myspace can be for connecting to those you don’t know through shared entertainment interests. And they’ve gone about confirming this in a Dr Harry Harlow fashion. Chief revenue officer, Nada Stirratt tells me about a 10-day deprivation study the brand inflicted on 50 heavy users.

“In this deprivation setting, when we took Myspace away, that’s where it surfaced that a lot of the myspace social graph, if I’m the [core audience] myspace 25-year-old, a lot of my social graph I don’t know in ‘real life’.

“We got to see where people were going and spending time when they couldn’t be on myspace, and it was actually interesting because they didn’t go to any one particular place. They had to go to some place for entertainment content, another for sports content. They had to go to other places to find new users and new friends, so it was very interesting where they ended up going, when they couldn’t have myspace.”

 

Communitycations

I arrive at Myspace’s Surry Hills offices 30 minutes early. An immaculate green and white fixie leans against a wall, Polaroid style prints of favourite films and CDs suspended in its spokes. Later, when my PR escort arrives, we share a laugh at its milieu perfection and he explains it belongs to an über cool French employee. While waiting, I get the opportunity to see the unvarnished goings on – something many PRs dread and do their best to cloak with ‘smoke ‘n’ mirrors’ through one of these profiles. The place is young and relaxed with a pregnant tension – bags under the eyes are ubiquitous. What I had dreaded was spin in my conversations leading up to this profile is actually reality… people are excited about the relaunch and are discussing it before first coffees. I couldn’t be coaxed into a conversation about my own lottery win at this stage of a morning.

My timing is both perfect and aggravating. You’ll be holding this magazine in your hand just as you’re able go online and see the new offering (and write condescending emails to me explaining how I was wrong!). But my interviewees are gagged by the US on discussing most of the actual marketing strategy. Problematic given our masthead.

“Yesterday, Sunday martinis at our business development manager’s house, we were just sitting and debating [about whether we could discuss the B2C campaign with Marketing] and we got told to stop talking about work,” laughs Bulgin.

I infer the point of contention is the US isn’t 100 percent convinced on all of the input Oz and the UK have had (Myspace’s largest markets are the US, followed by the UK, Australia/New Zealand and Germany).

“We’ve been in the business pretty much since the international expansion and [under] the original management of Myspace; we really had very little input into that level. We were an afterthought, whereas now the biggest shift I’ve seen from the management is actually being a globally focused – that word ‘focus’ again – internet business, rather than a US one that had these international offices that were kind of an afterthought, which is really refreshing. It validates a lot of the great ideas that come out of this office,” says Love.

So while lips are sealed on the full B2C campaign, the top level strategy seems to be about earning recognition through relationships rather than a focus on bought media. The negativity the brand combats has led to an understandable reticence to speak for themselves. While the changes to the platform are massive, Love believes that the fact they are a reaction to user behaviour (and backed by the extensive behavioural data Myspace collects) means explaining the new system to current users won’t be a big issue.

“They’re starting to understand, because clearly their usage is doing the talking for them, and it validates our strategy. The next step is how you go beyond the group of people that use the site today to either bring back a lapsed user or to attract a user who’s never been to us before. That’s a challenge for us and that’s something that there’s a number of different elements to that strategy… which is obsessively serving those social leaders to tell your story for you, as well as more traditional elements.” says Love.

“We’ve been maintaining a dialogue with a range of different social media [identities] who aren’t necessarily Myspace users. They may be quite well-known in an offline sense versus being an online identity,” explains Bulgin. “But we’ve been engaging with them for quite some time now, just having a very open conversation about what their behaviours are online, and with social media, what their perception is of Myspace. We introduce them to different products as they get released, and we have found that having that dialogue gave us firstly some insightful feedback, and secondly it gave us a great way to be able to communicate our message without it coming necessarily from us. Because we’re a platform that enables other people to connect, it’s an interesting challenge in terms of how you market that, so it doesn’t seem like it’s a traditional brand communicating at you. So one interesting way we’re going to be communicating is certainly by engaging with a larger number of those influencers and social leaders, and really seeding different content and different insights into the brand and into the platform, in hope that they then talk about it among themselves and with their audiences.

“It’s going beyond the technology and the data, as important as they are. It’s going down to a language that will resonate with people on an emotive level, so focusing in on that connection that we make possible between people and what they’re passionate about, making that very clear and making it fun as well; I think that’s going to be really critical, because we are a fun and exciting brand; we don’t want to be vanilla or corporate.”

And the rest of the consumer stuff is mum.

In fighting the ‘It’s not Facebook’ factor in local B2B, the brand ran a trade event, ‘The Next Chapter of Social Media’, with Mike Jones keynoting – but of course inviting many a non-myspacer to present.

“So that was step one,” says Love, “and since then, I’ve lost count of the amount of agency digital team presentations I’ve given. We’ve been out talking with the market, communicating, sharing our vision. So far, it’s been very well-received. Early on, it was getting upfront the difference between us and Facebook. Now, most agencies understand that completely. I think the final step will be whether in the online measurement space we’re classed in the social networking space or in another category all together, because we’re really becoming rapidly different to Facebook to the point where we are such a complementary experience. As you can see, you can sync your Facebook account to your Myspace account now. So if we were arch competitors, we wouldn’t be linking up our accounts with them to help you broadcast content out that you’ve discovered online.

“Probably the launch of Myspace Music in October last year was the first really big ‘aha!’ moment for a lot of advertisers… as we continue to learn from what we did in music, to evolve that into movies and celebrity and general entertainment, [it] was a really important step. It will be a gradual change. There will still be people in media land that think we’re competitive to Facebook… It will be an ongoing process that we’ll need to keep doing, but over time, as long as we keep our focus on product, at a marketing level, that change in perception will continue to happen. But, if you don’t have focus, it’s very hard to change people’s perception of you.

“It’s actually not a big change in the way we sell; it’s actually more a market education process. The bigger challenge for us will be how we communicate that through to a large base of existing and potential consumers over time… rather than communicating the change to the media industry.

“What is important as well, it’s not a light bulb, ta da! It’s really a line in the sand where there’s an ongoing process and that’s another thing that I’ve had to temper people’s expectations internally and externally: it’s not just this brand new Myspace that turns on next week or this week, and that it’s the cure for cancer. It’s actually step one, which is that redesign, revisualisation of the site and an evolution of some existing foundation products, and then moving forward we’ll continue to roll out the stuff. So the marketing plan is kind of reflective of that as well. It’s not like we’re a few days before launching date and don’t have a marketing plan. It’s actually an ongoing phased approach.”

 

The ‘futura’

Focus. I suspect the word is suspended on a small piece of film floating just over the retina of every myspace employee ensuring it comes up in all conversations.

The new myspace is all about entertainment across music, movies, television, games and celebrities. It’s not about horoscopes, being the only social network in town (rather the opposite) or job boards. It’s about Gen Y and damn the rest of you geriatrics. In focus it trusts.

Unfortunately, my job title means I wasn’t trusted to play around in the new website, but the demo given was impressive. It’s simplified and elegant: indicative is a move from the 117 logo styles, 152 templates and 81 button styles of old to one logo style, seven templates and two button styles.

It tackles the severe user experience and accessibility issues that saw, during the glory days no less, PCWorld.com rank it as the world’s worst website. These issues arose due to the platform’s openness to user customisation – which sounds great, except most people aren’t expert in HTML and CSS, let alone user experience design or web standards compliance. Basically, many current myspace pages mirror their demographic’s bedrooms.

“I like to think that we educated the world on html,” agrees Mike Jones, CEO of myspace. “A few months ago, we began a process where we released a new profile format to the world… The new profile allows rich customisation, so people can still create amazing themes and visuals to represent themselves, but it does have some standard navigation, meaning that I can be as loud as I want on my profile, but I still will have the left-hand nav.”

The new site lays bare the trends users are essentially voting up by sharing content: the current number one song, artist, comedian, TV show etc. It aims to drive users into different areas of the site by featuring the number of other users currently in a section. Members input their interests and become followers of a variety of entertainment sources. Those sources then form your news stream – broken into either relevancy or live streams, and further viewable in a manual fashion, a magazine layout fashion that also highlights social interactions with the content or, and I’ll be interested to see this develop, an automatic lean back video style that plays through all the current content in your stream. Any social interactions in this view are just layered on top in real time. And, importantly, all of those sources informing news feeds can curate content on their pages.

It looks cool.

“The design supports elements of real time, in that you can see who’s on, who’s consuming what type of content when; we can see what’s trending. We give you the ability to really understand the pulse of pop culture and what’s happening on Myspace at any one moment,” says Jones. Mike Macadaan, vice president of user experience and design. explains the platform’s capabilities for brands using the hit TV show Glee as an example. “On this page, a ‘topic page’, this is all of the content coming in from all of our sources on and off Myspace. It’s really optimised for the content of each of these grid items, giving you some nice viral tools to use, as well as live activity around how many views, follows and likes occur, and then anytime there’s [an interaction], it will just appear without you refreshing the page. On the right hand side here, we’re going to highlight who’s at the page… the top trend setters [the people most influential when it comes to Glee] and then we give you a little bit of a breadcrumb trail on who discovered it first, to expose how you become a big trendsetter in the context of this topic.”

The way these topic pages are populated with content is through the aggregation of information from publishers and bloggers, which is then broken into specific areas of a topic page.

Macadaan is also keen to discuss an element that is a glass bonnet on the information engine. “The Trends page is a very engaging way to see the top songs that are currently being listened to on myspace,” he says, “and you can actually see them battle it out and see the number of listens that are happening. And then right below there you’ll see all of the people that are actually listening to that artist. At launch, we’ll have songs and videos; you can actually do this against video watches, and this again is just another very interesting way to discover people and content.”

But let’s stop dancing about architecture. Without having soaked in it, I have to take it at face value – albeit a pretty face that from across the room looks to have a lot going on behind the eyes.

The four behaviours, or ‘core actions’, Myspace says drive the new platform are: discover, create, collect and relate. ‘Discover’ being connecting to a broad array of real-time content, ‘create’ the ability to build a persona through entertainment preferences and customisation, ‘collect’ the curation element and ‘relate’ the social elements. The big thinking behind all of this is aiding a user experience and business outcome of the ‘discovery of content through people and people through content’. Curators and brands will be core to this.

Curators, those users with huge and/or dedicated followings and influence over them, will be able to corral content from both Myspace and outside sources. The platform will reward these actions through virtual badges, access to special tools and privileges and, I’d hazard, offline rewards around the brand’s events. And, yes, I wrote ‘virtual badges’ – it worked for Foursquare, even as those compelled to earn them (aka me) ridiculed the idea. While myspace remains mum on the subject, it does look as though curators will be showcased as site-celebrities on various pages as vehicles to drive users to specific content.

The ‘relate’ element of the plan aims to have algorithms recognise similar behaviours and tastes in entertainment content to connect individuals to individuals or curators… or brands.

“Let’s say you love independent music and, of course, you’ve already connected to all your favourite independent music bands on myspace, but you want to find more. We absolutely have algorithms that help recommend you bands, but we also want to showcase curators to you. And what we found is that if you love independent music, and we connect you to somebody who is a curator, who is an aficionado of independent music, then you actually become highly engaged within myspace, because every time you log in, you get connected to more and more good stuff that drives you to use Myspace more and more, and connect to more and more new things. So through both this topic page system, that’s very much kind of the technical side of the world, and then our human element, curators, we believe that the mix allows us to provide the richest social experience that will create this kind of personal environment for people to engage in,” explains Jones.

 

Money can’t buy

I have a confession: at the March Myspace Secret Show I snuck into the artist area during the headlining Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros set and drank Tanqueray Ten and Patron with support act Cloud Control. We then took all the best promo products. Sorry. But drunk musos and journalists stealing from you… now that’s authenticity for your brand extension.

The Secret Shows are promoted online two or three days before they happen via mobile, and entry is on a most-willing-to-sit-on-a-dingy-Fitzroy-street-for-12-hours-to-be-first-through-the-door basis. They’re more intimate, less stadium and if you’re thinking, ‘Who is Edward Sharpe and are these shows solely populated by an über niche of Gen Y hipsters wearing pink pants and hound’s-tooth mackintosh combos?’, show 150 was celebrated in 2008 and other headliners have included: The Cure, Lily Allen, Placebo, Moby, The Killers, Gnarls Barkley, Franz Ferdinand, Powderfinger, Silverchair and Sigur Rós.

The shows were borne “out of the editorial team in the US… Fan culture is a really important part of where the Myspace brand plays in and, like you were saying, translating that offline was a really powerful way for us to take our brands offline and really connect with people in that sense,” says Bulgin.

Love believes the Secret Shows validate Myspace’s claim as a trend spotting engine, citing the recent Bring Me The Horizon Secret Show taking an unknown band to a number one ARIA album in two months.

“That’s a pretty good validation of our ability to spot trends and also to bring that kind of content to our users as well in another platform other than just online,” says Love.

Australian sponsorship partners have ranged from Optus taking a year-long tenure, to the Commonwealth Bank’s debit card associated with music, to Telstra as part of its ‘Party Catchers’ campaign.

“Some brands are happy to have their logo associated, and other brands want quite extensive product sampling opportunities, trial of their products, and varying brands do those things to varying degrees of success,” says Love.

“If you look at Secret Shows and Black Curtains, they’re very much Myspace formats where we have presented by sponsorships, and some varying degrees of customisation around the outside of that, but first and foremost they’re Myspace formats. But we have also created bespoke programs and managed bespoke programs for brands as well that were very much customised for the brands to be part of the campaign as well. So we’ve got quite a lot of expertise in running events and knowing what works to drive an online community offline.”

Stirratt believes these offline executions demonstrate the difference between Myspace and Facebook users. “The Facebook consumer is quite a bit older and they go in and out of Facebook to communicate with people they know,” she says. “On the Myspace side, it’s a younger audience that comes in to consume entertainment content, and to bond with people who they may or may not know, but they’re both rabid fans of that content. And there was a very interesting study – we didn’t do this, it’s called the Chitika study. What they do is they measure all the social media out there and determine why people are going to them and what they’re doing on those sites. Fifty-one percent of the people who come to Myspace come to consume entertainment content, where in Twitter, people go to look at news and Facebook people go to look at people.”

 

Come together 

None of Myspace’s moves have so signalled the paradigm shift as the integration with Facebook updates. I am sceptical that the arsenal has been lowered in combatting industry comparison, but this one move stuffed a lot of money into the proverbial mouth. At this point, the comparison does belie a misunderstanding of what this space has become – it was once quite fair, but anyone in the know would laugh at a comparison of Foursquare and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or vice versa in either case. Different audiences, different offerings.

“I think we get compared to Facebook a lot because we were the first social network to scale globally and were a lot of people’s first ever interaction with or understanding of social networking. We did a lot of things first that we sometimes forget about at the time, and the market has moved on and the market has moved to a point where Facebook has become this underlying communications platform, because they focused on standing for one thing, which was really a communications utility and doing an amazing job of it, whereas we tried to have a bet in multiple camps. And, when you lack focus, you have people who are focused in certain areas coming through and eating your lunch very quickly. So, in some ways, it’s an unfair comparison, but in other ways, you can understand it given the history and the timing of when Myspace and Facebook emerged,” Love concedes.

The brand plans to encourage its users to use the two platforms as complementary to each other.

“We’ll definitely be talking about Facebook and Twitter as partners, and we’ll also be organically encouraging our users to use the product in the way that we’ve designed it, so that they can see this is a unique product for them, and complements anything else they use,” says Bulgin.

And unofficial sources suggest we’ll see even greater integration between these social media platforms. When pressed, Love at least leaves scraps about the rabbit hole…

“We’re committed to being as open as possible and integrating with as many open platforms as possible. That’s the way of the web. How far we go down that path, I can’t really comment on that today.

“And, if anything, I don’t see Facebook as a competitor. I see Google and Facebook being more competitive if you talk about different ways to search for and discover content… the term social media will probably cease to exist to some degree in coming years, because websites generally have to become more social to keep up with what consumer expectations are and consumer behaviour.

And then there was Ping. A cursory view suggests that Myspace’s formidable partner, iTunes, is ready to stomp on toes. There has been a joyous chorus in the press calling Ping the Myspace killer. Followed by a dirge, when it revealed itself as a social shopping experience, not to mention one difficult to access for unestablished musicians.

 

A place for friends no longer

With the blood of Gap’s rebrand dripping freshly from their e-lips and specks of the iTunes 10 logo carnage splashed about the whiskers, the online community was given a sneak preview of the new Myspace logo being a ‘my’ followed by a literal space. A sample from @C47’s (sometimes known as filmmaker Joey Daoud) Twitter account: “Only two more characters left and Myspace will forever be deleted from the internet.”

TechCrunch broke the story earlier than Myspace had planned, and that omnipresent schadenfreude the brand has learned to live with is blatant in that article too. “If the iTunes 10 logo and Gap logo fiascos have taught us anything, it’s that people hate logo change, so people are inevitably going to hate this (I can’t wait for the comments section of this post),” warned the blog.

It wasn’t as bad as the journalist had predicted (quite a few comments were fuming with indignation that she’d labelled the font Helvetica when it was clearly font name). A few brave souls actually lauded it, and weren’t attacked for their opinions. My initial reaction was a forehead whack, but I’ve actually come to appreciate it’s at least a move with cojones.

“It’s common. People seem to be a bit taken aback by it at first, but once they see beyond the empty bracket, they start to see what’s sewn into that. They see it as quite bold and creative, and quite forward-thinking and artistic in its approach,” says Bulgin.

The ultimate vote of support has come in an unofficial logo generator springing up already (logomyspace.com). Love loves the logo, and says it’s been an advantageous talking point in starting trade discussions.

“It’s people talking about our brand, which in the past they haven’t been, or haven’t been as much as they once were. And when you’ve got an opportunity to talk to people about something like that, it gives you another opportunity to share what your message and your vision is,” says Love.

While the open bracket will be an outlet for user creativity, I’m confident it will be available in a reserved capacity to advertisers – Myspace remains cagey on the subject.

The problem with the logo is it’s actually an elegant reflection of social media itself: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn etc would require me to explain their function if they weren’t populated by user content. This logo requires the same. And, had the planned launch date swung around without a leak, I dare say this would have been communicated. I haven’t picked up the green fixie just yet, but some of the excitement in that Surry Hills office has rubbed off on me. Whether the relaunch brings back the halcyon days myspace hopes for or not, we’re about to learn where this medium is in its development.

Just as the logo overtly embraces the idea that consumers own your brand, we’ll soon know whether they’ll give Icarus back his wings.