Facebook this, Facebook that. Blah, blah, blah…It’s a story one can’t escape from. And it’s one that often overlooks a glaring fact—Facebook is nowhere near as popular, nor as profitable as MySpace.
According to Fortune, “Rupe” bought MySpace in 2005 when it had $23 million in revenues; he recently told analysts that in the fiscal year beginning in July, it will take in $800 million, with a profit margin greater than 20%.
Facebook, on the other hand, had estimated revenues of $150 million, primarily from advertising, in 2007, but it is reportedly burning through more cash than it is generating.
Okay, so MySpace rakes in the page views and ad revenue. Why? What’s so special about the anti-darling? For one, MySpace is less about technology and more about pop culture. It’s clearly the more effective site for the entertainment industry and the millions of people who like to discover new music.
Design snobs complain about the visual noise on MySpace, and how Facebook’s clean white lines are easier on the eye, but Steve Pearman of MySpace says, “We’re focused on helping people express themselves and do the connection and discovery game. If you want pink blinking text on a black background, who am I to say it’s wrong?”
Antony Bruno, Senior Writer for Billboard says, “Years from now, when the pundits talk about the turning point for digital music, they will point to the launch of MySpace Music.”
Again, the reason is user-centric. Bruno argues that MySpace Music found a way to monetize downloads, concert tickets and merchandise in a way that consumers are already comfortable with, “rather than forcing them into a business model convenient for the recording industry.”
Naturally, Facebook is scrambling to meet this formidable challenge. But the horse is already out of the gate and Facebook isn’t barely saddled up. I know I won’t be looking to Facebook for music, nor to connect with bands or other music fans.