Actor and singer Justin Timberlake, who once released a song called "Bringing Sexy Back," is now bringing something else back: MySpace.
Timberlake, with investors Tim and Chris Vanderhook, bought the social networking site last summer. MySpace ( http://myspace.com ) had once been Facebook's biggest rival. In fact, MySpace was once the dominant social networking site and Facebook the scrappy upstart.
Myspace was bought by Ruper Murdoch's News Corp. in 2005 for $580 million. But it lost the fight for dominance in the social networking field, and by the time the new owners bought it last year, the price was only $254 million, less than half what News Corp. had paid for it.
But the new owners set about converting MySpace from a social network into a music site -- one which is even integrated with Facebook, once its archenemy. And the new direction is working, say company officials. The site, which always had a strong music component and was strongly favored by bands as a promotional tool, has a music player and is marketing itself to independent artists.
After many months of decline, the site has signed up a million new users since December, say company officials.
Facebook is now trying to become an umbrella site for music, tightly integrating a wide variety of music sites, like MySpace and Spotify, so that you can easily share your favorite songs with your friends.
Another music-sharing site integrated with Facebook is This Is My Jam ( http://thisismyjam.com ). This is a site where you announce to the world what your favorite song of the moment is. You look it up in the site's search engines and you're given a choice of audio and video files of the song. Pick one of them, and then announce on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook what song is your new jam. Your jam expires after about a week if you don't replace it. You can follow friends or use the site to find other users with similar tastes to see what their current jam is.
Also new in the online music arena: Tubalr ( http://tubalr.com ), a web site that finds online music videos by your favorite artist and puts them together in a playlist, something like what Pandora ( http://pandora.com ) does for audio tracks. With Tubalr, you can get a strict playlist with just your favorite artist or you can have Tuablr add in other artists it believes to be similar.
I found out about both This Is My Jam and Tubalr from the Netted By The Webbys daily e-mail list ( http://netted.net ).
--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is lakeneuron.com.