Take Aim: Amy Sciarretto vs. Myspace's Christian Parkes
Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:37:32
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Let's face it. Your Myspace account is likely long dormant, if not deleted altogether. It's been that way for a few years, right? Facebook and Twitter dominate your social media dashboard, while Myspace might not even be an icon on it, right? Well, pop star and actor Justin Timberlake invested in the once giant social media site, which is reinventing itself as more of a music networking site.
We picked the brain of Christian Parkes, the global VP of marketing, who is working to get Myspace off life support and back to thriving in the digital space.
Parkes is tasked with helping to turn the brand around. With a resume that includes denim brand Levi's, sportswear brand Nike and experience fusing sports and culture, he seemed like the man for the job! We learned all the key details about the relaunch, finding out what's new, what's changed and what's exciting. Find out why you need to reactivate your Myspace page now!
Your job is to create change with Myspace -- the site has gone through many of those in recent years and since its decline as "the" social media network. What are your biggest challenges? What's worked? What hasn't?
We're in the infancy of launching the new platform so it's a little premature to say what's worked and what hasn't, but we have been deliberate in our rollout over the last year. When we went into open beta in January, we did it as a means of pressure-testing the platform: we wanted to see how people used it and what its strengths and weaknesses were. It was truly a community-led beta where we talked to lots of artists who told us what they needed most. That's approach to developing the platform served us really well. This period of evaluation allowed us to evolve, refine and shape the product so that it can provide the best experience possible. Now that we're officially open, we're in this mode 24/7.
From a challenge standpoint, the biggest hurdle is changing the perception of Myspace. We'll do that by delivering the best product, supporting our community, and letting our actions and community do the talking for us. We're already seeing the shift but over time, the good will win out.
Would it be correct to say that Myspace is now more of a music site than a social media site? Granted, we all connect via music and social media, and this combines the two, but is there a clear line in the sand?
Fortunately for us, sand is easy to move. Yes, Myspace is a social site, and yes, it's also a music site. In actuality, it's so much more than either entity in isolation: its fullest potential is realized as the sum of its parts in totality. Myspace is a place where you can express, share, promote, and discover. Music is very much a focus as it's inherent to the brand's DNA, but music is just the gateway. Music artists are just one important segment of the overall ecosystem of creatives. From photographers to writers to producers to designers—Myspace is built for all these people—and you'll see us engaging this entire community over the coming months and years.
Do you work closely with Justin Timberlake? Is he hands on with the development?
Justin is very present at Myspace in that it's his strategic vision that's inspired this whole endeavor. Obviously, he's not here every day; he's got stadiums to fill. But he sees everything we do and he provides really valuable feedback. He's another highly-valued member of the creative community that we learn from and build with on a regular basis: they keep us grounded, real, honest, and focused.
Can Myspace be restored to its former glory?
It's important to look back at history and take stock of what you did well, where you went wrong, and what that means for the here and now. We've definitely done that. But we're really focused on the future right now, more than looking back and trying to reclaim anything from the past. Today, our objective is to develop something great for a community of users who are creative in their output and their consumption. We provide tools for people to be seen and heard, to share, discover, and collaborate. There really is no platform like it out there. The idea that Myspace exists in service of this community and will build product that empowers and celebrates them—it's a tall order. I'm not sure it would be achievable if we were really focused on hitting quality and quantity at the same time. So we're focused on quality—building a great experience that our community finds valuable.
If you had to give people THREE reasons to reactivate a dormant Myspace account, what would they be?
1. Right now you're using 5, 6, 7 different platforms to keep up... You get your news from one source... you watch videos somewhere else... music is streaming from another place... you follow artists all over the place... It's madness. Myspace brings all of these disparate platforms together in a single destination, and it looks and feels better than all of the others combined.
2. No other platform is rooted in discovery like Myspace. The commercial spot running online and on TV is the briefest hint of what's in store and how we will be empowering and serving the creative community. That you have The Dough Rollers, an emerging band that we love, in the same frames as mega-star Pharrell Williams speaks to the democratic approach we take to fostering discovery.
This is a philosophy that forms the baseline of every feature. Take our approach to radio on the new Myspace mobile app. Everyone is given the opportunity to take on the voice of the DJ and create their own radio station, based on what they like. And each "DJ" has the same platform promote themselves and broadcast their stations to a larger audience. It's a totally human and egalitarian approach and its rooted in the way we think about creativity—everyone is creative and everyone should be given the opportunity to showcase their iteration of that.
3. Your parents aren't on Myspace.
Good point. I've read that kids are leaving Facebook for Twitter because their parents don't tweet.
Segue time -- what are your three favorite bands?
Impossible question! But I can tell you that I just picked up some overdue vinyl last night from Amoeba Records here in Hollywood... It's been a little too busy to get out of the office: Boards of Canada – Tomorrow's Harvest; Daft Punk – Random Access Memories; and The National – Trouble Will Find Me.
Outside of that, my Myspace player has been clogged with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey throughout the launch.
Where do you see Myspace by end of 2013?
Exactly where it should be: in the hands of the community that gives it life.
Did you reactivate your Myspace account yet?