It was recently announced that Justin Timberlake, who played Napster co-founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker in The Social Network, has purchased an ownership in MySpace and now has an office at the flailing company’s headquarters.
While Timberlake’s music industry prestige and apparent interest in social networking will obviously lend some hype to the site, that’s usually not enough to halt a downward spiral of MySpace’s proportions. But according to his manager, Timberlake has some very concrete plans for MySpace beyond lending his name to the cause.
Timberlake’s longtime manager Johnny Wright told the AP that his client is considering turning MySpace into a talent competition or show. “Whether it becomes a talent competition or something like that, those are things that we will still flesh out,” he said. “We definitely want to bring the industry back to MySpace to really look at the talented people that have put their faces there.” And the celebrity is ready to work: Wright says he received an email from Timberlake the night the deal closed reading, “Are you up? My mind is going dizzy with ideas. I need to talk.”
Promising words for what’s been one of the most beleaguered tech companies in recent history. While a veteran of social marketing and a pioneer for the scion that is Facebook, MySpace managed to lose its user base and was forced to undergo a significant makeover, refocusing on music and entertainment. Worse yet, it’s been forced to make sweeping staff cuts and has been something of a black sheep for parent company News Corp. So it’s hard to imagine that anything can bring it back to life.
But MySpace has pulled out all the stops to claw its way out of oblivion, and attaching some star power and the hit niche that is talent and voice competitions is as good a try as any. Reports say that MySpace would return to focusing on new and emerging talent, so we could see it become a platform for an RT crowd-sourced competition – something more stripped down than American Idol but hopefully more visually interesting than the scores of undiscovered artists on YouTube.
More about the next phase for MySpace will be announced at an August 17 press conference.