Well, Tom Anderson of MySpace seems to think so.
In an interview with Germany’s Spiegel, he and Chris De Wolfe offer a few ideas about where MySpace has come from, how it has become an important part of youth culture, and answers a few hard questions about where its going around the world (nowhere fast).
When asked about how it has affected popular culture, Mr. Anderson had this to say:
I think we have replaced MTV. MySpace is more convenient. You can search for things, while MTV is just delivering things to you. On MySpace you can pick your own channel and go where you want. That’s why TV viewership is dropping among the MySpace generation. I started using the Internet in 1999. That was pretty late. But as soon as I did I just stopped watching TV. The idea of sitting down and waiting for a TV show at a certain time, I couldn’t do this anymore. The Internet is a better form of entertainment to me.
While there’s no question that TV watching habits are on the decline for a younger generation of viewers, I think its a bit of wishful thinking that MySpace, or the Internet itself, will eclipse TV altogether. Like the introduction of any new media, all we will see is the readjustment of older media into newer and different niches. Much like radio evolved into its own niche of highly local, yet highly syndicated talk-show heavy format that exists today, television will also evolve, by necessity, into a newer format.
And in that way, TV will probably not have the same impact it once did — but it will probably be due to all kinds of reasons, such as the fragmenting of viewership across all kinds of cable networks, and speciality channels. But, particularly with the rise of high definition television, and what many consider to be a “golden age” of television with regards to some great content, and legitimization of the form by actors of all stripes, I think its survival has probably been underestimated.
So, has MTV replaced MySpace? For some it probably has. Especially since it has dwelled far into the realm of reality TV, and is less about music and other things which has made influential in the past, such as issues around censorship and social activism. On the other hand, I think it would be highly premature to say that it has replaced it, any more than it is to say that television, as a medium, has become obsolete.
After all, MTV has survived for 20 odd years, branched out into a multitude of countries successfully, and extended its brand across all kinds of media. MySpace, no matter how confident its founders are, has yet to survive the next bubble bursting, a serious competitor, or even a change in what a rather fickle demographic regards as “cool”.