Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/14/myspace_on_the_up/

MySpace no longer crying a river with 1 MILLION new punters

Facebook love-in, new music player boosts usage post-Murdoch

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Financial News, 14th February 2012 12:13 GMT

MySpace may have been dumped by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch but today its star investor - aged pop prince-turned-actor Justin Timberlake - has something to smile about: the site has gained 1 million users since December.

The signups represent the first growth for the site since Specific Media bought it.

Murdoch's company News Corp acquired MySpace in 2005 for $580m and then ingloriously offloaded it in June 2011 at a $254m loss. Since being cut loose by one of the world's most famous octogenarians, the website has undergone a major revamp that has included redefining the brand as an entertainment hub mainly use by independent musicians.

And it would seem that the reinvention is slowly starting to pay off. The company said the uptick in signups was largely due to a new music player the one-time social networking giant debuted at the end of the last year. MySpace has also been given a leg-up by Facebook, which it of course once considered to be an arch rival.

The company was bought by Tim and Chris Vanderhook along with Timberlake - famous for chart hit Cry Me a River - for $35m from News Corp, and recently did a deal with Mark Zuckerberg's company and another with Twitter to allow the site to be integrated with the popular social networks.

At its height in 2008, MySpace pulled in roughly 80 million unique visitors each month and when it was sold to Timberlake and co the site's userbase had slumped to 33 million and remained in free fall.

But these days the company is no longer fighting with Facebook and its vast userbase of over 800 million people worldwide. Instead its competing with the likes of Spotify - a company that has already signed its soul away to Zuck's crew.

Comscore noted last week that MySpace's monthly traffic had grown to 25.1 million users in January, up about 4 per cent on the previous month. Before then it had reached an all-time low, so 1 million new signups is apparently worth shouting about.

“The numbers tell an amazing story of strong momentum and dramatic change for MySpace,” the firm's CEO Tim Vanderhook said. “And the one million-plus new user accounts we’ve seen in the last 30 days validates our approach.”

He added: “MySpace is building meaningful social entertainment experience around content, where consumers can share and discover the music they love. Consumers are getting excited about MySpace again - a testament to a great music product.” ®