When word got out that News Corp. had finally sold the ailing social network Myspace - the first shocker was the pricetag: a mere $35 million, mostly in stocks (just a few years ago, in 2005, News Corp. bought Myspace for $580 million...ouch).
We barely had time to digest the initial news when even stranger details emerged: pop star Justin Timberlake would not only be a part-owner but also act as something of a creative director for the new Myspace.
Timberlake is obviously just about the biggest pop star in the world and most liked guy in the music business, but did anyone see this coming? Probably not. According to Billboard, Timberlake's deal with the company that bought Myspace, Specific Media, wasn't finished until thirty minutes before the company worked out their own agreement with Myspace and had only begun to meet with the pop star a few days before.
The same Billboard article reveals that JT's first act at the new Myspace may be the creation of a talent show to promote and discover up and coming artists. The American Idol formula isn't exactly a bold move at this point since it has plenty of imitators (The Voice, X Factor, et al.) but will people actually tune in to Myspace to watch a show? One would guess that Timberlake plans on leveraging his own star power by hosting the show or at least making plenty of cameos.
Beyond that - we don't yet know what else JT has planned for Myspace. He's a proven pop star who has managed to stay on top since his 'N Sync days - which is no small feat in a business with a very short term memory. Myspace's strength was always in music, in that regard Timberlake's new job makes sense. But does he have the business savvy to turn Myspace around? Other than having played that guy in The Social Network, what does he know about, well, social networks?
Of course Timerlake is not running the show alone. The principal driving force behind the new Myspace will most likely come from Specific Media's co-founders, brothers Tim and Chris Vanderhook. Further details of their plans have begun to emerge and it's clear that music is not the only direction they hope to take their Myspace, though clearly an important one.
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