JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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• In the long run, is MySpace really relevant to musicians?

The other day, I posted about the demise of fuzz.com, a site for bands and artists, which elicited a comment that really fired up the old synapses.

Here is the part of the comment that I found so thought provoking:

“…I don't think we can ever not be on MySpace. MySpace has reached such a level of ubiquity that I think you'd be shooting yourself in the foot if you were exclusively listed on Bandcamp or ReverbNation only. Thoughts?”

Before I delve into this, full disclosure: I really hate MySpace. It’s ugly to look at, unsatisfying to use and clearly a trainwreck of poorly written code. There is no love whatsoever in the way MySpace is built. It looks and works like exactly what it is: a quick and dirty opportunistic Friendster-clone that has grown way beyond its founders wildest dreams.

Okay, got that out, now, onto the discussion.

I think the ideal solution for musicians would be a site that would let musicians post music and concert schedules, but leave the social networking to Facebook and whoever else comes to the fore. Best of all would be for Facebook to let users who are musicians customize their pages a bit, so music is front and center, but leave the hosting of the music and the player/widget creation to someone else. Right now, Reverbnation, by offering so many versions of its player comes closest, but I don’t like how Reverbnation tries to also do social networking. In fact, this ‘jack of all trades master of none” approach to social networking sites sucks. As I said, I want a social networking site that gives me the freedom to present myself a certain way, but doesn’t also try to supply all the functionality for how I present myself.

Here’s the approach I will take ASAP.

Facebook/Twitter will be my social networking solution.

This blog on squarespace will be where I interact with my legions upon legions of fans.

Bandcamp.mu will be where I place my music for sale, and I will use Bandcamp’s widget on my blog as soon as they have a blog-friendly version. I want Bandcamp for this instead of Revernation, because Bandcamp is simple, elegant and clean.

Tunecore will be how I distribute my music to iTunes, Amazon and the like.

With this approach, I will have one social networking site where my friends are (real friends, not the MySpace B.S. kind), and one blog for my music, to which I can drive traffic from Facebook and Twitter and by commenting on blogs of others, one music hosting site in Bandcamp, and one distribution solution in Tunecore.

A little messy, yes, but not as messy as a crummy MySpace page.

All of which is to say, YES, I do think musicians can do just fine without MySpace. What’s more, I believe MySpace is dying, as it should. It’s like Windows; people only use it because others use it, no one really, truly WANTS to use it.

What do other musicians out there think of all this?