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How A Team Of Aussies Rebuilt MySpace Into Something Beautiful

A few months ago, a hype video emerged previewing the new MySpace. What we know is that it’s remarkably beautiful and it has been rebuilt by artists, for artists. Here’s something new though: all that beauty was built from the ground up by a team of Australian designers based in Brisbane. The best part? It opens for new sign-ups this week. Welcome to the New MySpace.

MySpace kicked off the social platform revolution. It was one of the first social networks to get huge traction in the mainstream, so much so that it was bought up by News Limited for an obscene sum of cash. The sort of cash that could rescue third-world nations or arm a small empire. Less than a year later, though, MySpace shut its doors and it was sold off for a pittance.

Tim Vanderhook and Chris Vanderhook are the two brothers that bought MySpace for $US35 million from News Limited, and with a little help from their chief creative officer, Justin Timberlake, the trio planned to rebuild MySpace around what it always did well: bring music to the people.

12 months ago, the ambitious trio were looking for a designer, and they settled on Brisbane design firm, Josephmark, and its co-founder Ben Johnson.

In an interview with ABC’s Download This Show, Ben and the three ambitious re-founders of MySpace talk about how the service is being reborn out of the ashes.

Ben and his team landed the job rearchitecting MySpace after the awesome job they did on the music discovery service, WeAreHunted and the new online news site, The Global Mail. He tells ABC that he most certainly had his doubts about rebuilding MySpace, saying that any site that had tried to resurrect itself had ultimately failed.

“[The job was to] come in, reposition, restrategise and rebuild MySpace with the assets it already has,” he said.

12 months later and the site looks incredible. It’s packing all the best bits of Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and old MySpace all rolled into a beautiful social platform featuring 5 million artists with 27 million songs.

The Vanderhooks said they wanted to let people sign in with Twitter and Facebook so that getting new users in would be easy. Keeping them there is another thing entirely, though. The Vanderhooks have pledged not to charge for the service, but instead they’ll make money via advertising. Ultimately, obnoxious advertising was one of the reasons old MySpace failed. The Vanderhooks plan on dodging the mistakes of the past by serving ads that are as beautiful as the site itself.

“We want our advertising to be like Vogue Magazine. Nobody ever complains about a Chanel ad in Vogue Magazine,” they tell Download.

This week, the site will open up for new users, and I can’t wait.

Go listen to the full interview on this week’s episode of Marc Fennell’s Download This Show on Radio National, and make sure you subscribe to get the previous episodes featuring yours truly and Gizmodo veteran Alex Kidman. [Download This Show]


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