From 1,400 employees two years ago, the number of employees at Myspace now number just around 200. This development follows after News Corp. sold the social networking site to Specific Media and after Justin Timberlake, who portrayed Sean Parker in the movie “Social Network”, joined the company.
Myspace, was sold for $580 million to Rupert Murdoch. The plan back then, according to Business Insider was to “merge MySpace into Yahoo and save Yahoo from Microsoft’s clutches…as long as Yahoo agreed to value MySpace at something like $10 billion.” Myspace was recently sold for just $30 million.
Tim Vanderhook, Specific Media CEO, is practically singing the same song. According to an article in CNET plans to use Myspace to build a “digital media company on par with Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, and all the other big names out there.”
Vanderhook seems to be pinning plans of social media domination on Justin Timberlake. The pop musician and actor who won six Grammy Awards as well as two Emmy Awards is Vanderhooks reason for hoping that the Myspace brand can be reinvented and a positive reversal in fortunes could be made to come true.
Timberlake, who is also part of Tennman Media Network, and also has a fan site, will be part-owner of Myspace and play a role in developing creative direction and strategy.
The Grammy and Emmy Award winner is no stranger to business, venturing into the restaurant business, liquor, and fashion.
Timberlake was involved as co-owner or endorser of three restaurants in the United States. These include “Chi” which opened in West Hollywood, California in 2003 as well as New York restaurants “Destino” which opened in 2006 and “Southern Hospitalty” which opened in 2007. Timberlake also owns a brand of Tequila called 901– coined from the area code of his hometown of Memphis. He also launched the William Rast clothing line with childhood friend Juan (“Trace”) Ayala.
Vanderhook and Timberlake have plans of revealing their vision for the site’s future this summer.
The vision ought to be something remarkable and should go beyond the idea of having star power fueling a long climb back up to the top. The once mighty social networking site once had 70 million registered users, it now has a reported 30 million users — which is still falling. The question is whether Timberlake’s star power can make up for the reasons by people left Myspace in favor of Facebook and in the scheme of things, how will it compete with emerging, ultra-hyped up Google+.
Then again, Timberlakes huge following could still be potent. He may not have the 11 million Twitter followers of Lady Gaga, but he certainly has half that at just over 5 million.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.