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Justin Timberlake buys ownership stake in MySpace

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It’s not often that you hear of someone switching from Facebook to Myspace. But in a surprising instance of life imitating art (that imitates life), Justin Timberlake did just that: The actor and singer has reportedly purchased an ownership stake in MySpace, along with fellow buyer Specific Media. The former N’SNYC member, who played Facebook president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker in The Social Network, will help revamp the diminished website, which the pair just purchased for a mere $35 million from News Corp.

According to the Associated Press, Timberlake will take an office at the MySpace headquarters in Beverly Hills, and have a staff of about six people working for him “around the clock,” as Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook put it.

Specific Media hopes that Timberlake’s celebrity and sway in the music community can help MySpace build upon its success with musicians.

“When we met with Justin and we discussed what our strategy was, we hit a chord with him,” Vanderhook told the AP. “One of his passions is he really enjoys helping other artists and creating a community for people to really express themselves. I think we were blown away that we were able to get someone like Justin to be so excited about what we were doing.”

MySpace has been on a downward spiral for years, driven deeper as Facebook skyrocketed in popularity. The $35 million deal is a bargain compared to the $580 million News Corp paid for the site in 2005. (Facebook first launched in 2004.) That’s a loss of $545 million, or 94 percent of the company’s investment. Despite this, News Corp will retain a 5 percent stake in MySpace.

Vanderhook says that, with Timberlake’s help, they can breath new life into the website by focusing on video content, including original shows. The new MySpace will also involve a major upgrade in technology, as well as the an effort to maintain the rights to music that was posted to the site through its partnership venture with major record labels, MySpace Music.

“There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect,” said Timberlake in a statement. “MySpace has the potential to be that place.”