“Social networking sites” and music

“Social networking sites.” MySpace, Facebook, Bebo in standard parlance. Do you use them?

According to the mainstream media peeps, Facebook is taking over the universe. It has a moon for breakfast, a planet for lunch and a star for dinner. Maybe, maybe.

But for those of us who were able to instantly hear a huge range of music online through MySpace, the now News Corp-owned mother of all social networking sites (at least till the start of 2007), Facebook has left out MySpace’s crucial music features.

Yes, Facebook works better and connects you to people you actually know rather than randoms – usually, anyway. Friends on MySpace are, sometimes, lists of mutual appreciation. On Facebook they might well have been to uni with you and suddenly turned up 10 years later (naming no names…). And Facebook is a cleaner design, has far fewer errors and, crucially, allows one to poke and be poked. But Facebook’s music functions are, to be nice, naff.

MySpace has none of these networking thrills but remains the undisputed place to hear and be heard. What’s more, by allowing users to design their own pages with a variety of free software, it does allow for something like an individual representation of identity. One need not be blue and white. (As an aside though, why do people make their MySpace pages so slow to download? We don’t need white semi-transparent overlays. They’re tedious. Get rid.)

As with Amazon’s endlessly nearly-arriving digital downloads shop, rumours of Facebook’s rebuild to showcase music in a way as successful as MySpace has and does have been circulating for ages. Almost as long as suppositions about whether Google will schnaffle the company before Microsoft does.

For the moment at least it’s still MySpace where new music can be heard, where tour dates are listed and where, at least grudgingly, anyone serious about new music must still tread. But it’ll be Facebook where the talking happens.

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