Extended Thoughts: MySpace

I do not think it would be far-fetched of me to say that nothing has been as inexorably linked to the success and proliferation of Wizard Rock as MySpace, the first really big social networking website of its kind.  I mean, yeah, there’s Friendster, but they were started at pretty much the same time, and MySpace was “the” social networking site, the one uninformed politicians and news anchors would bandy about when trying to appear hip.  Anywho.  Without MySpace, there is no doubt that wizard rock as we know it today would not exist.  However, many bands, especially the top-tier* ones, have stated that “MySpace is dead.  Long live the Facebook, I mean the Twitter, I mean the Tumblr, I mean the Google Buzz, ha, just kidding about that last one.”

*So, yeah, about the whole tier ranking system thing. I’ll probably write a Wednesday article on this someday, but suffice it to say that I like it. Why? It’s concise, and while many people disagree with it, they know exactly what, and who I am referring to when I use it. Let’s face it, there will be times, especially in a blog of this nature, where it will be necessary to divide up the more popular bands from the less popular ones. And it’s a lot simpler to say “top-tier” than “more famous” or “larger”.  It sounds less decisive and unprofessional. And yes, I do realize that I am saying this as the person who just pulled a bit of a dick move with the previous article’s break, but I feel there needs to be a rather firm-sounding way of describing the more famous and larger wrock bands, and while it has generated a bit of controversy, it has been more or less accepted as a relevant phrase in the wizard rock community. Again, I’m going to be doing a Wednesday article on this sometime, so I’d rather you keep your comments about the point of this actual article, and save your thoughts about this matter until then. Also, I will be interviewing multiple wizard rock bands to write that article, so if you’ve got some particularly strong opinions *cough*Whompy*cough*, please hit me up with an email (wrocksnob@gmail.com) to let me know you’d like to be interviewed.

Hokay, back to the actual article.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, wizard rock would be nothing without MySpace, wizard rock is starting to leave MySpace, can wizard rock survive without it?  First, I will back up my claim in the first phrase, give a synopsis of what I’m talking about in my second phrase, and answer the question raised in the third phrase.  Hooray, road maps!

First off, to prove that MySpace was influential to wizard rock’s success and growth.  Basically, the wizard rock community is pretty much based solely online.  Without a consistent, viable web presence, wizard rock would have never progressed beyond a niche North-Eastern genre, mostly consisting of a small circle of friends.  Sure, there’d still be anomalies like The Remus Lupins, and word would get around, so there would be people make little songs in their parents’ basements and sharing them with their friends, maybe posting a couple on YouTube, but would there be 750+ bands, with at least 200 active ones?  Would there be the Wizard Rock People’s Choice Awards, or heck, even this blog?  The answer is a resounding no.  For artists to get shows, they need some way for the owners of the venue to check them out.  And in this day and age, the easiest way to do that is with a website.  A good bands website will have a short bio, a sampling of the artist’s music, and a list of upcoming shows, so the venue owner can now when they could schedule the band.  So far, there have been only two top-tier bands to have non-MySpace websites like this, Harry and the Potters (no, I’m not gonna fucking link to them!), Draco and the Malfoys, and The Remus Lupins, and even TRL’s website eventually went the way of the dodo, because it’s a hell of a lot easier to add shows and music and stuff using MySpace than by adding them to a flash application.

Not only does having a webpage on a massively popular social networking site make it easy for libraries and donut shops and things to find you, it also make it easy for your music to spread across the entire world.  And this allows there to be hardcore fan groups in places all around the country.  And this opens up the possibility of touring, the lifeblood of those lucky few who can make music as their job.  And this allows for a delicious closed feedback loop of continued proliferation of wizard rock.  A strong, vibrant internet presence is required for such a niche genre to be able to accomplish these things, and such a presence would not have been possible without MySpace.  I know for a fact that more than a few people are only in this community because a friend of theirs had Harry and the Potters in their Top 8 back in 2005 or whatever, and they decided to check that shit out.

But more importantly than all of this, even if some of the top-tier bands were able to get their own decent websites, and somehow cultivate a world-wide internet following, the heart and soul of the wizard rock community would not exist.  I am of course talking about every “other” band – the ones who can’t tour, the ones who play a set at Wrockstock, or in a friend’s basement, and that’s it.  Out of the 750 wizard rock bands out there, about 10 can tour, and that’s a highly liberal estimate.  Those 740 other bands are what make the community.  One of those ten bands are what draws you into the fandom, meeting someone at one of their shows, and then forming a small band together for shits and giggles, that’s what keeps you.  And without MySpace, those 740 bands would not exist.  MySpace is a great equalizer – everyone is sharing the same pool of potential “friends”, and no matter what fancy html coding you copy from one of those sites, all MySpace pages are going to look roughly the same, especially in layout.  And even for the few smaller wrock bands that have the necessary skills to create a professional-looking website, they will get only a fraction of the exposure they would on MySpace, because of the aforementioned “Top 8 effect”.

Now that I’ve proven the admittedly easily provable claim that without MySpace, there would be no wizard rock, time to talk about wizard rock leaving MySpace, and how, for some people, MySpace left wizard rock.  You see, at first, MySpace was sort of the perfect social tool.  You could put up sample music, photos, tour dates, contact information, blog postings, all that stuff, all in one place.  It also that social component, so bands could have an easily interactive experience with their fans – they could thanks them for friending, or reply to a comment, and also, comment on the pages of other bands, maybe start up a conversation, and maybe that conversation might lead into a collab, or seeing if they could do a couple shows together.  There was also the ability to make “groups”, and so one could make a group with all of the wizard rock bands in it (a task that was a lot easier in 2006).  This is where the idea of the “wizard rock community” really started to develop, and from these sort of interactions, the Wizrocklopedia was eventually born.

When I really came into the wizard rock fandom, which was late 2007 (about a year after I really got into the Harry Potter fandom – it’d be interesting to see how long it takes people to get into wizard rock after getting into Harry Potter), MySpace was still the contact info of choice, and strong wrock presences on Facebook and Twitter were still gleams in the eye.  However, use of MySpace was definitely not what it used to be.  There are a few reasons for this.  For one, humans naturally get bored with ritual.  The wizard rock community, and really, the online world was ready for something new in their social networking lives.  In lieu of that, many wizard rock MySpaces (at least in the top-tier), became not much more than just an informative web page.  New tour dates would be posted, a new song uploaded every now and then, maybe even a blog, but those blogs were more often “Hey guys, new album out!” than “Hey guys, let’s talk about bacon!”  Then when Facebook, and especially Twitter took off, the reign of MySpace was over.

Or was it?  The site bands use in their twitter page is always their MySpace.  I mean, the site I link to here when referring to a band is their MySpace.  The first thing a new band does is get a MySpace.  Yes, I am getting paid for each time I use the word MySpace in this article.  Yo dawg, I heard you like MySpace, so I put MySpace in your MySpace so you can MySpace while you MySpace.  Anywho, if you asked any wrock band if they could relegate their online social networking presence to just one site, which would it be, 9 times out of 10, or probably more, the answer would be MySpace.  Because even though if you want to talk to a wrocker it’d be much better to hit them up on Twitter or Facebook, MySpace has what Facebook and especially Twitter don’t have – an interface designed for bands to pimp themselves.  That means tour dates, that means a music player.  Sure, you can put music on a music player add-on for a Facebook Page, but it’s cumbersome, and there’s a difference between a Page and your profile.  Facebook separates the band from the band member(s), a poor choice if it hopes to entice the MySpace music community.

So, then, why do people proclaim that MySpace is dead?  Because the social scene on MySpace is dead.  For a lot of wrock bands, MySpace is basically an albatross around their neck – it’s necessary for their survival, but it is clunky as all hell.  Now, about a year ago, this is where I would put a huge caveat, that while MySpace may be dead for the top-tier bands, it is absolutely fundamental for new and smaller bands.  Not just in that it’s a webpage for their band, so they can actually showcase their music and stuff, but it’s a way for smaller bands to network, to compliment each other, to plan Wrockstock sets together, maybe do a mini tour of a bunch of smaller bands, and especially plan some collabs.  But these days, even with the smaller bands, MySpace is becoming more and more of just a web page for their band.  If they want to chat with each other, they use twitter.  If they want to plan stuff, they’ll use twitter or facebook, or if they’re smart, Google Wave.

Also, in a sense, MySpace “left” wizard rock.  Probably their most grievous offense, the one that still ticks people off, especially smaller bands, is when they removed the ability to download songs from the MySpace player.  That feature has been gone for about a year and a half, and it is sorely missed.  Also, it’s intriguing to note that twitter is one of the very few websites of its kind that looks and functions pretty much exactly the same as it did when I started using it (about a year and a half ago).  Facebook goes on a massive site redesign every 6 months or so, and MySpace has been no stranger to this sort of thing as well.  For example, dicking around with the MySpace player (though adding 4 extra song slots was definitely a nice touch), and changing the way bulletins worked, all that stuff.

So, wizard rock needed MySpace to become what it is today, but wizard rock is now moving on.  Will it be possible?  And will wizard rock survive the transition?  In one big way, it’s already been proven that a community such as ours can successfully migrate social networks.  Twitter is undoubtedly the new social home of wizard rock.  Sure, there are some bands with “open” profiles on Facebook, but many people prefer their Facebooks to mostly just be open to people they know in meatspace.  Really, Facebook is taking over some of MySpace’s few remaining functions – it’s a much more elegant tool to manage photos and give fans updates, and blog and et cetera.  Really, all MySpace is useful for now for bands is it’s a site that you can give to libraries and factories where you knit stuff and that sort of thing, it’s got a handy easily scannable list of tour dates, and it has sample music.  And it is, you know, a webpage, something that makes it more powerful than twitter, which is strictly updates and being social – there’s no where to put a tour date list or something, and it is more customizable than Facebook – also, you don’t need an account and have to be friended to look at a band’s MySpace page, unless they’re really going about things the wrong way.

So, what’s going to fill the few, but vital holes that would be left by a complete migration from MySpace?  Bandcamp might be the most elegant solution for listening to, downloading, and/or buying music, but that’s sort of all it can do.  Muxtape is nifty as fuck, but unfortunately it’s not open to everyone.  FourFour is looking really promising, but it definitely needs some work.  Still, don’t be surprised if the websites in bands’ twitter profiles slowly start to link to that site.  I really can’t say much for tumblr, because I’ve never really played around with it, but my highly uneducated opinion leads me to believe that it is more of a companion to twitter than anything else.

There’s really only one problem to moving away from MySpace, and moving to a platform like FourFour or Muxtape: new bands.  These days, the way new bands get known is by friending people on MySpace, those people checking them out, and liking the shit they hear, and then telling all their friends, maybe broadcast about it on twitter.  But if band pages move to a site without the social functions that MySpace has, the wizard rock community has got to pick up the slack.  Either that, or small bands are going to have to promote the hell out of themselves, to the point of spamming, and I really don’t want to see that.  One thing that really will have to happen is the fine folks at the ‘Pedia getting back in the saddle of posting news and new bands and that sort of thing.  Many bands that started during the time period when twitter and facebook weren’t big, but MySpace was really starting to decline in favor, would not be around without the help and support of the Wizrocklopedia.  I’d love to see that happen again.  Now, this is in no way a condemnation of Freya or Dinah, who are probably at this very moment frantically scrambling to get the ‘pedia back up, and they had announced the return of Weekly Wrock Wrap-ups.  Besides, without the ‘pedia, this blog would have only a small fraction of the readership it has now.  This is more just a gentle nudge than anything else, and also a call for more people to trumpet awesome small new bands.  WrockRevelation has been doing a great job of this, and I’d love to see more people do the same.

So, there you have it.  MySpace + Fledgling Wizard Rock = Success.  Maturing Wizard Rock – MySpace = Uncertainty.  Wizard Rock + Twitter + Facebook + FourFour (or something like it) = Success.  Hopefully.

What are your thoughts on this?  Are you in a band that only updates their MySpace customarily?  I’d love to know!  Do you think I’m full of shit because you love and use MySpace every day?  I’d love to hear from you too!  In summation, please enjoy this picture of breasts covered in bacon.

See you on Friday!


34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah M.
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 22:18:28

    DaTM also have a full website- evilwizardrockDOTcom

    It appears to be mostly current too.


  2. Meg
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 22:27:05

    “it’d be interesting to see how long it takes people to get into wizard rock after getting into Harry Potter”
    Fun story, I got into wizard rock before I got into the HP fandom. I’d read the books ofc but HatP in ’06 were my first fandom interaction, I’d never even heard of Leaky or Mugglenet. Good times.

    Anyways I pretty much agree with what you said. Reverb Nation is another site trying to do myspace-type things for bands, but idk how good it is. Tumblr is really more of a multimedia blog than a static website.

    And of course, the underlying theme of this discussion is that no matter where things end up, the internet is awesome for bringing us all together in the first place. Also bacon bras are disturbing.


  3. MaryBeth Schroeder
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 22:55:45

    I made a myspace for my wizard rock stuff in 2006 (I was in college and touring Shakespeare from 04-08, though, so wizard rock was not a thing I could put a lot of time into.) I met a FEW people myspace and discovered things and made sure I updated stuff as regularly as possible. It was a good place to start and my only option, especially as someone who couldn’t devote a lot of time for this.

    I think that as long as there is a popular social networking device (which there ALWAYS WILL BE), there is a way to find out about music. It doesn’t matter what it is. Myspace was the main one around the time that wizard rock was started. It is a good, easy place to throw things up and even if it isn’t popular anymore, you can link through there and to there if you please.

    Right now, my wizard rock/nerd duo, The Vashta Nerada has a Pure Volume page (http://www.purevolume.com/thevashtanerada) where you can download free tracks and listen to stuff, etc. ALL of my projects are on last.fm as well.

    I update my youtube account with new music and because for musician’s accounts on youtube, there is a “tour dates” section, I do that, too. I still put my live dates up on myspace, too.

    On all of our sites, there are links to where you can buy my stuff on iTunes,

    On all of my pages, I link to my twitter and I link to everything from everything. My email address is available on all of the pages, too.

    I think, if anything…it doesn’t matter whether myspace goes down in popularity or not. There are a thousand other ways to hear about bands, in general.

    The tour I am a part of has a tumblr. And we’re all friends with lots of people on facebook, twitter, youtube who not only listen to our stuff but link others to it.

    If someone likes it, it gets around.

    There are a thousand ways to get your music heard and none of them are too time consuming or too hard. Word of mouth happens, linking through everything to everyone is so so accessible.

    I am doing better than ever, wizard rock wise. I don’t know if it was ever since I did Terminus (and had my first larger live exposure), people were more interested or since I started playing more in general. It doesn’t even matter where someone puts their stuff, even if it is in a thousand places. Because of the way information travels now (yeah even in the last five years), people will find your stuff. They just will.

    This seems like sort of a silly article in general. I mean, yeah, Myspace was the place to be a few years ago, yeah it’s still there, but now there is that and EVERYTHING ELSE. So…why would you say:

    MySpace + Fledgling Wizard Rock = Success. Maturing Wizard Rock – MySpace = Uncertainty. Wizard Rock + Twitter + Facebook + FourFour (or something like it) = Success. Hopefully.

    I’d say

    Myspace=original unique, easy tool for musicians, therefore successful

    maturing wizard rock – myspace = they still have myspace up there but they have EVERYTHING ELSE ADDED and you have SO many more ways to access them so that is STILL successful

    And Wizard Rock + Everything = successful. (not “hopefully”. DEFINITELY)

    When it comes down to it, it really isn’t the platform the band uses to promote…it is the time the band puts into getting their stuff out there. If someone wants to be heard, they’ll find a way. That’s just what an indie musician has to do. That’s pretty much the task. Not just for wizard rock. For every independent artist.

    I heard a band on last.fm called “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes” and then I went to their myspace because their last.fm bio linked me there. Then I listened to the song I liked AGAIN on there. Then I went to iTunes and bought it. Then I went to their myspace to look at tour dates. Then I went to their webpage to find tickets. I watched their video for the song “Home” on youtube and I linked the video on facebook, twitter and tumblr. It wasn’t hard. And because I thought this band was REALLY AWESOME, I put it out there because I wanted to share the love.

    I mean, that’s the way it works.

    I hope my lengthy answer is good enough for you. I’m not scholarly or clever anymore.

    Everything starts somewhere and in the information age, spreads EVERYWHERE. Nothing disappears or fades unless it isn’t maintained. Everyone who wants their stuff heard can get it heard.

    That is all very repetitive. But it is all very true.


  4. cristiline
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 23:11:40

    This was probably one of my favorite articles so far–probably because I’m a big geek and absolutely love reading about stuff like the evolution of fandom!

    Marybeth said above that the widening of social networking has helped, but–at least for me–it can be really annoying. With the social networking expanding to many different, it can be difficult to keep track of where information is posted. I kind of hate Facebook, but I feel like I have to keep it in order to keep up with the latest bands and to RSVP to shows (admittedly, this last feature is very useful). MySpace was so great because it gave everyone a single place to go. Plus there was the top friends effect, as you mentioned.

    I am already so disorganized on the web (I usually have between 30 and 50 tabs open) and involved in other fandoms that I don’t have the dedication to go looking at a band’s MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, tumblr, and god knows what else (Yet no one in the wrock community uses LiveJournal, which is what I use for all my other fandoms!). Maybe it’s because I’m not quite as into wrock as I used to be, but it’s pretty difficult for me to stay in touch with the latest news when I have to be following everyone on at least three different sites to keep up.


  5. dj Luna Lovegood
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 00:10:42

    You just reminded me to check my MySpaces 🙂


  6. Justine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 00:17:10

    Why did you write… “Harry and the Potters (no, I’m not gonna fucking link to them!)” ?? Do you hate them?


  7. Sally Slytherin
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 02:11:09

    Awesome article. Agreed 100%. Wizard Rock needs MySpace to grow and thrive, even though it’s a bitch.
    Also you successfully executed a perfect Yo Dawg, and I can’t describe how truly happy that makes me.


  8. Russ
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 04:03:27

    There’s not much more that can be said that MaryBeth didn’t say. MySpace is still the easiest/best place for bands to use because there’s ONE PAGE that has everything – music player, tour dates, bio, etc. So it’s still very easy to set up that page at MySpace, and then link to it from everywhere else so casual/new fans can get to your stuff quickly and easily.

    I got into wizard rock via MySpace in 2006; that’s what happens when you have a newborn and hours to kill at 2am, just clicking on bands’ profiles and Top Friends, and downloading music. Being able to listen to all those downloads whenever I wanted, putting them on my iPod, etc. really got me into the whole genre.

    Now, there’s no downloads. You can’t actively sell merch from MySpace, you need to link to another site in order to have PayPal buttons/links. That right there also caused a huge migration away from MySpace as the primary tool for bands, because the majority of people were just selling burned CDs and self-screened shirts via PayPal. Not everyone signs up with Tunecore for iTunes, and Bandcamp is still fledgling (and has no social media aspect, which I feel really hurts them, no matter how awesome of a model they are).

    I still feel MySpace is a valuable tool and no band should be without one, for the reasons I noted above. But the ability to get your name out, and have people find you easily and quickly, now resides with Twitter and Facebook. So there’s no longer that “one stop shop” to find new music, and be able to download/purchase it.

    PS total agreement with Sally – my fave part of the article was the perfect “Yo Dawg” placement. It’s tough to pull that off properly, but you my friend, did so.


    • wrocksnob
      Jun 03, 2010 @ 04:43:53

      Another big, really huge terrible thing about MySpace is how archaic they are with links. Many large free file storing sites are blocked by MySpace, making it more difficult for bands to offer free music to download. And yeah, MySpace is still essential for every wizard rock band, but it sucks that it is essential, or more so, that aspects of it are still so crappy. Also, I’m glad my “Yo Dawg” has been met with approval! 😉


      • Russ
        Jun 03, 2010 @ 04:58:31

        Yes, that’s another reason I’ve been doing my best to direct people to Bandcamp or DropBox if they want to offer free downloads. DropBox doesn’t have that stigma that Mediafire and Rapidshare have…. yet.


  9. Whompy
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 04:20:43

    I still treat myspace like it’s still legitimate and active because of the tour calendar function (and because I can’t really afford a proper website, although that may change soon). However, I find that myspace is so dead that some people actually refuse to go there for any reason, which is why we started posting tour dates on facebook. Whateva!


  10. Lauren Myrtle
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 04:43:24

    One of the hardest things recently is to keep everything updated because instead of having everyone just check one page, loads of different people only check certain pages. I’m currently updating MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation, Tumblr, and my own personal website where I keep an updated list of everything I’m doing or about to do. It takes a lot of work, and I’m still getting comments from people who didn’t realize I was touring this summer even though I’ve been promoting for several months. People just don’t know where to look for information anymore because it’s spread all over the internet.

    Honestly, for me, YouTube is the best place for wizard rock right now. It takes a lot more time and creativity, but you can post new music, music videos, live performances, video blogs with announcements and updates, and even tour diary-style videos. The comments allow for conversation that other people can follow and get involved in, and you can subscribe to as many channels as you want if you’re interested in being informed of each video they post. You can post video responses, get involved in contests, and the medium itself allows for you to feel like you’re actually getting to know the people that you’re watching. The best indication of whether or not you should drive a few hours to the nearest upcoming show is to watch videos of shows these bands have done in the past.

    Another interesting thing about YouTube is that everyone can contribute to the amount of wizard rock that someone could find on there. If you search ‘wizard rock’, you don’t just get the band’s channels. In fact, most of the videos that come up are fan-created music videos or ones taken by fans at shows. It encourages the community aspect of wizard rock more than the other social networking sites really could.


    • Jace
      Jun 03, 2010 @ 06:23:10

      I agree that YouTube can be a great resource for bands to promote themselves. Video blogs and updates are one way i still manage to see what you guys are up to, (along with Twitter and what-not)….. as creepy as that sounds….

      However, I still feel YouTube is not the best choice for growing bands. I remember wwwwwwway back in the day, 05-06, when i was first getting into wizard rock, I would find bands, and people who enjoyed the music as much as I did by myspace’s Top Friends List and the comments. I mean that’s pretty much how I got involved in all of this.

      It was easier to see a link to a persons profile, hear their music, see what they were about, and Friend Request them. I feel YouTube doesn’t offer that unless everyone is making videos or something…. you know? How many people who watch your videos and leave comments have an active YouTube channel? They may have one to subscribe to channels, and leave comments, but not everyone keeps them up to date. That’s where I see it being less personal for some.

      But again, it can be an AMAZING tool for some. I just wish we had something that could do all of it. In one place.


  11. Amanda Rumm
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 09:31:05

    I completely agree with you. Myspace birthed wizard rock. But no one uses it anymore. It rarely ever works, it’s a chaotic mess, and most people don’t even remember their password.
    You mentioned Tumblr. Let me INFORM you. Tumblr is exactly what I see as being the new social networking site for EVERYTHING. Fans, updates, websites, bands, you name it. A tumblr blog is a perfect tool for a wizard rock band. I really hope that in the future wrock can pick this website up, because it really can work for the better.
    You can add music players to the site to promote your music, you can let people ask questions almost in the way of a comment, but better, you can give short updates or long blogs with text posts.
    Basically, Tumblr can be the perfect tool. Plus, it has all of the convience, funcionality, and professional appearence that Mysapce just simply does not.


  12. Brad Ausrotas
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 09:35:03

    Wrocksnob, I swear, you have this uncanny ability to take my opinion on something, develop it into an article, and exposit about it quite elegantly.

    This is exactly what I feel about Myspace. There is nothing out there, currently, that can properly void the hole that Myspace music left, so the bands are still tied to them.

    One that is CLOSE, however, is Tumblr. Tumblr provides the social aspects of Myspace. I don’t know how many great people I’ve started following because they were reblogged by someone. Plus, it has the format to support large content, and just about any kind of media, be it video, pictures, audio, whatevah.

    The only problem is that very little of Tumblr is constant. As in, whereas with Myspace you have a constant page where all of the information stays in one place: you’ve got your player, your calendar, your friends list, whatever, and none of it moves. With Tumblr, the content is scrolling, and it can get buried over time, which I think is counterintuitive.

    I think if they changed it so that Tumblr pages had some dedicated content AS WELL as the scrolling content, it could definitely take over for Myspace.


  13. wRock Revelation
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 12:42:51

    I completely agree with Brad Ausrotas said about Tumblr. It would be the perfect platform if they had some static/dedicated content as well as scrolling content.

    You have described perfectly how I feel about MySpace–“the albatross around their neck”. I hate MySpace, really and truly. I only update my band page periodically because I HAVE to, and need to remind people that I still exist and I’m still making music.

    Like MaryBeth said, Last.fm is a great platform to get one’s music out there. Odds are, the site already has some of your music on it [mine was there before I came along, at least the stuff I originally had for free downloads] and all I had to do was show up and claim my band’s page. It was fabulous. A lot of annoying work, yes, however… Last.fm offers streaming music like unto a radio station with hundreds of thousands of users who are constantly listening to the service.

    While again, I agree with MaryBeth that your stuff WILL be heard, a lot MORE people will be listening to it once you get a MySpace. That music is clear. It’s obnoxious yet true.

    Thank you so much for giving us a shout-out and link in your blog, too. It was much appreciated!

    ~wRock Revelation


  14. wrocknquidditch
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 15:30:48

    I thought Whompy, JFF, and the Moaning Myrtles had stand-alone sites of their own…via blogger or wordpress?

    And I could have sworn Creevey Crisis does…. and also quite a few of the not-top-tier folks. Kwikspell has one, as do I…and I know I’ve seen several others.

    Also – I agree with a lot about what you said about MySpace and Wizard Rock. I actually said a lot of what you did (ironically) in my Masters Thesis when I was explaining to my readers why I chose to use fan numbers from MySpace instead of facebook or what-not.

    As a small band myself, I still find MySpace pretty important. I know most people don’t ever look at it…and I average 2 or less listens a day, and will be lucky if I ever have more than 300 friends…and posting all of my newsy things up there is kind of futile (but I do it to be thorough)…but I do think that a MySpace presence is very important. Even if it isn’t utilized very often, I only started getting serious about Wizard Rock in late 2008 (which, granted, was 2 years ago) and the main way that I learned about new bands was to visit all of the “Top Friends” of bands I already knew, and then visit all of their top friends, and then all of their top friends…and so on. It really helped me personally find music that I liked, and it also, I think, helps the other bands get listens and fans and stuff.

    MySpace has been very important to the word-of-mouth process in Wizard Rock.

    I’m kind of sad that it’s going by the wayside. Not because I like MySpace (I actually hate it, and occasionally when I log in, it automatically redirects me to a virus download -_-) but because it is about a BILLION times harder to get people to pay attention on Facebook or Twitter. Most of my Facebook “fans” are people I know from college and high school who added the Sweetwater page because they were being supportive of me…VERY FEW random wrockers have added it. And maybe I suck or something, but I didn’t have that trouble with MySpace. Twitter is also a struggle. I don’t really think any “fans” are following me on Twitter, that I know of…I think they’re all just people I like and/or am friends with…

    You have to spam the crap out of people on Twitter and Facebook to get even half of what used to happen with MySpace…unless you’re already pretty well known by folks. For example – for every….3 months of Facebook/Twitter updates…I sell a CD. It’s not helpful for getting your music heard, and it’s not helpful for trying to raise money for any causes. I’m on my 3rd charitable cause as a wrocker, and have yet to raise any money for it. :/ People will “like” your status updates on Facebook, and they may comment on it or whatever….but I think there’s something about the nature of the Facebook update that makes people less inclined to actually go. Unless they already know you.

    So…the promotional possibilities with Facebook and Twitter are way less useful than the ones we had with MySpace when people still used it. I can definitely tell that MySpace isn’t as active as it once was…but I do appreciate the people still using it. I get warm fuzzies whenever I log in and someone commented on my page or sent a message or told me to check out their new songs.

    With MySpace (when it wasn’t on life support) you could interact a little more freely with everyone. Twitter is very public and abbreviated….and a lot of people use their Facebook for professional networking…so both of those things are more restricted than MySpace, a completely unprofessional love-fest tool used by middle-schoolers and for adult hookups….was more of an anything-goes situation. With MySpace, we could comment on the pages of all of the “tiers” equally, and aside from fan numbers, everyone was on a level playing field. We can still tweet at people and comment on their Facebook pages, but it’s a little different.

    With the Facebook PAGES, you know that you are interacting with a “band” profile. There’s already that disconnect from interacting with the person “directly”…(which, of course, we still are….but it doesn’t FEEL that way). For example, posting on The Remus Lupins Facebook Page isn’t the same as posting on Alex Carpenter’s personal facebook profile. Where, with MySpace…it was all just kind of the same. MySpace made everyone accessible to everyone. Heck…I remember when I was starting my research, I contacted TONS of folks through MySpace initially and asked for interviews…and got prompt responses. I’ll occasionally get responses on Facebook these days, and haven’t gotten much out of MySpace. Also with MySpace, when you added a band on MySpace, they added you back. If you were friends with someone, they were friends back. You don’t get that with Facebook…the pages you like show up as “Pages” and with Twitter, a lot of bandsy folks don’t follow back…and you’re LUCKY if any of the folks with tons of followers even respond to you. I think that’s simply because of the sheer volume of tweets/followers they get…(and the nature of Twitter…not egos)…but it does make them seem less accessible.

    MySpace was really a good deal for wizrock. Like I said earlier, I’m kind of bummed that it’s not very useful anymore.


    • cristiline
      Jun 03, 2010 @ 15:59:08

      I feel guilty for not adding more wrockers on Facebook, but I really try to keep my facebook clear of people I don’t know. After seeing how cluttered it gets when I accept everyone and add all the celebrities/bands/whatever I like, I deleted my whole account and got a new one where I only accept those I really know. I’m sorry! But I have to cut it off somewhere, you know?


      • Russ
        Jun 03, 2010 @ 16:08:13

        No, I know *exactly* what you mean. I’m the same way with social networking – I’ll gladly accept anyone on MySpace who adds Creevey Crisis, with thanks. But on Facebook, it’s a totally different story – that’s personal, I’ve got info about my family and kids, etc. I won’t accept friend adds from people unless either I already know them, or know them well enough from online to be Ok with them seeing all of my personal info. I’ve removed people in the past because I really didn’t know who they were, etc. So you have no reason to apologize 🙂


      • wrocknquidditch
        Jun 03, 2010 @ 17:16:23

        I do the same thing…I’ll add wrockers pages but that’s about it. I’m pretty particular about which pages I’ll add. For my personal page, I put every single person in a list…and each list is set to which content I want them to be able to see…so I have a little more freedom with adding people, but that’s exactly what I mean… Facebook is so much more personal than MySpace is…that it’s not really an effective thing to transition to.

        There’s no reason to apologize for it. They’re different entities that ask for different behaviors. 🙂


  15. PK9
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 16:16:24

    I have a myspace account but I hardly ever login. Still, myspace is where I usually get to preview music before I decide to purchase it. Youtube is a great place for artists to show off their personalities, but usually when it comes to music you’re only gonna get one of two things: 1) live concert footage or 2) videos of artists playing the music acoustically and recording themselves. Both are good for introducing a new song, but unless the artist wants to spend a lot of time editing and producing a music video, it’s not gonna have the finished studio version. Fan videos are great (especially when Christine makes them), but generally those are gonna be with more established songs that I’m already familiar with, not brand new music. And if I’m gonna spend a dollar to buy a song to listen to repeatedly for the rest of my life, I’d like to hear that specific recording in its entirety first to know that I like it.


  16. JenTerr
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 19:28:49

    I’ve been studying various aspects of wizard rock for the past three years. This particular topic, in some ways, has been the subject of my research for the past year or so. So this is actually sort of my life’s work (until I finish dissertating, anyway).

    First, this is a great discussion and I really have enjoyed getting to read what everyone has to say. I have to agree that absolutely myspace was instrumental in the development of wrock historically. I agree that wizard rock would not look like it does today without it. It’s entirely possible wizard rock would exist – fan music existed way before myspace – but it wouldn’t look like it does now. However, even though several people do still use it, there is no arguing that myspace is not the primary home for wizard rock any longer.

    In fact, I argue, there is no primary home. Wizard rock exists across multiple types of media online media – it exists via websites (hello pedia!) facebook, twitter, youtube, livestream, texting, blogs (like this one) and several other places. The community emerges out of interactions that take place across all of these media. Even though we often manipulate the media in such a way as to accomplish the tasks we want to perform (ie promoting a new album) – the actual media are sort of secondary. The social ties and interactions are the infrastructure of the community – not the medium. Still, the technology is important and does either facilitate or hinder the types of interactions we can have.

    One critique I pose to your analysis is that it is very one sided. This analysis leaves out a major component of the community – non-musicians. People who aren’t in bands are still super important to the perpetuation of both the phenomenon and the community of wizard rock. So when you are thinking about what online media are best for wrock, you cannot only think about musicians and the exchange of music or exchange of information relating to music/shows and that sort of thing. The sociality of wizard rock, how we form and maintain these friendships is just as important as the distribution of music. I haven’t really studied why people shifted from myspace to facebook, but it seems to me that the simple answer is that facebook offered something that myspace didn’t. I am inclined to believe that people preferred facebook’s ways of socializing. Facebook had a lot of fun bells and whistles that people enjoyed for awhile (and some still do) and so gradually people started to use it instead of myspace.

    Many of the people I’ve spoken with have said that at some point participating in wizard rock became about friends, and while they still enjoy the music, it isn’t their main reason for engaging in the wizard rock community. Facebook, twitter and other applications are preferred for a number of reasons, but I believe this is why we have seen a shift away from something that was better for the distribution of music toward something that is better for the socialization.

    Finally, I would argue that there is no medium that fits all of our needs right now. Most people go to numerous places to find information about the community. This is a problem for a lot of people that I’ve spoken with. As Lauren mentioned, it’s difficult for bands to get the information out there and it’s difficult for non-musicians to know where to find information. However, as I’ve mentioned already, the community is about so much more than the distribution of music. So really if we were to have one particular online home it would need to meet all the needs of the community. I wonder if such a place would ever be developed – it’d be pretty cool if that were a viable option. It’d also be really interesting to explore exactly what that would look like. What are our needs and how can we meet them? After studying this group for a number of years, I am doubtful that I could generate a list of needs that would be sufficient as to allow for wrock to exist in one place. Even so, that might be a very cool project in research and design.


    • wrocksnob
      Jun 03, 2010 @ 22:50:05

      I think that something like a really, really suped-up Ning could work. And really, I’m fine with there being multiple sites for different aspects of the wrock community, but just about three for the major ones. Like, we may need a separate site for music (and I’m a huge, HUGE fan of muxtape, if it ever goes public), but we don’t need one site just for pictures, one site just for videos, one site just for updates and blogs, one site just for music, one site just for tour dates, etc. I think at this point, the most elegant solution would be to have one site where it’s ludicrously easy to embed a YouTube video, or a Flickr album, or a twitter feed, maybe have a link to a page that’s a customizable “twitter wall” – it would by default contain posts from every wizard rocker on twitter, and maybe, like, the ‘pedia, that sort of thing. And then using the magic of either an account or preferably cookies, you could sort it down (or up) to contain only the bands you wanted updates from, and maybe specific fans and community members. And you would have a very scaled down version of this in the sidebar of the website, containing just the most recent 10 tweets or whatever (whereas the “wall” would have 100 tweets off the bat, and as you scrolled down, it automatically loaded more. And it should have tweetdeck-style ways to easily read just one conversation), and clicking on the header of that widget in the sidebar would take you to the wall. Also, band pages on this site/network/whatever would have their twitter feed, if not front and center, then quite prominent. And then there would be a slot for blogging of choice, be that an actual blogging site like wordpress or blogger, or tumblr, or even that long-form version of twitter who’s name I can’t remember. Also, it would have a non-archaic system of displaying music for the public, possibly a combination of last.fm and bandcamp/what the MySpace player SHOULD do. Like, you can listen to, and download/buy songs straight from the artists on the player (also, there should be a folder option in the player, so bands could upload entire albums, so you can just click a link and instantly be buying or downloading an album), but there’s also an option on the player, and definitely on the main page of the site, where you could have an instant last.fm-style radio dealie, of all the music uploaded to the site, possibly using Apple’s iTunes Genius technology. Oh, and in lieu of an actual wordy blog, one could have a YouTube vlog playlist instead, or something. And it would be better to make the site mostly a hub connecting all these other networks, not quite like the Ning way of doing things, where you COULD link a youtube video, or you could upload it to the ning itself. It would be better to just have linkage to YouTube, and Flickr/Photobucket/DeviantArt/whatever, and twitter, than try to make cheap knock-offs. The technology is already there, it’s how you use it and present it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just make it prettier, maybe a tad rounder.

      So yeah, that’s my off the top of my head answer to your last question.


  17. dj Luna lovegood
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 22:43:21

    it’s a total shame. we heard Harry and the Potters on a college radio station for the first time pulling up into McD’s Play Land. I began my personal MySpace soon after to catch a live show. True story. Oh whow time has twisted us. MySpace is totally fucking annoying and it gives me headaches, BUT it’s a free Mp3 upload, as it is a graveyard that I seldom relive.
    Some of the best early Wizard Rock shows were communicated from there, before loop options. I spent a lot of time copying and pasting.
    dj Luna Lovegood’s MySpace was over-run by fellow dj’s and rap artist spamming the universe. The boneyard is pretty sad and I use it as a last resort.
    Still a free Mp3 upload without having to fax a driver’s license, isn’t that the Facebook policy. Bullshit, don’t have time for it, follow my link to MySpace or You Tube:)


    • wrocksnob
      Jun 03, 2010 @ 22:53:47

      Yeah, twitter is one of the least evil sites in terms of management of YOUR stuff, but of course, all that you really have on twitter is text, so…

      And really, it’s only a matter of time before they start publishing books of “The Best Tweets”, without asking anyone’s permission to use those tweets first.

      In fact, I think Facebook might be more evil than MySpace. MySpace is the George Bush to Facebook’s Dick Cheney – more stupid than actually evil.


  18. Zoë (Split Seven Ways etc)
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 03:54:59

    The “death” of myspace contributed to me getting further and further away from wizard rock, I’ll freely admit it. I’ve never wanted to start up a facebook fan page and attempting to separate wrock from real life for fear of EPIC ridicule meant attempts via twitter were kind of pathetic. I give almost everything out for free and constantly having to change and update all my album links every time myspace threw a hissy-fit and blocked the links again was annoying as all hell; by the time MaryBeth and I found purevolume for the Vashta Nerada it was too late in a lot of ways. Didn’t want to have to start over. Yeah, it’s as much about apathy as anything else. Everything’s still around on last.fm though, I’ve been using that for a while.


  19. James Shepherd
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 05:50:30

    This has by far been the most engaging article for me to read. I was definantly in the Wrock Fandom first and joined very late 2008. I didn’t have a myspace and got one specifically for Wrock. I very rarely go there and NEVER check the bulletins. However i do think it is still (From what i know of the online music capabilities) te best platform for a band.

    Everyone knows how to navigate myspace, its all pretty much on the main page. The music player is excellent (from a listeners point of view)

    It will be interesting to see a new platform really take off, however because their is so many different platforms these days and different people will like different things it makes it hard to findca singe site that everyone will like and use that has the functions that made myspace great.

    The internet has got so big with social networking sites that as Lauren said its hard to make sure you post everywhere and get your message and music out their.


  20. KwikSpell
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 16:19:17

    Hmmm, interesting topic. I’d have to say I agree. With the social decline of MySpace, it is quite hard for smaller bands to a) stay connected to the community b) develop a fanbase of their own, and c) express their originality through content and design. MySpace is so confining and, at times, rather boring.

    Going from Myspace to Facebook, however, is like comparing apples to apples of another shade. Where MySpace is ridiculously easy to “friends” people and build a web of fabricated self-importance, it lacks a way to keep potential fans of smaller bands engaged or “in the know” of said band. Facebook has streamlined the social networking genre with its Orwellian-like ‘newsfeed’ and literal ability to make social commentary on your peers,’ yet it made it so complicated to even upload a single song to a FanPage, yet alone get that damn music player on the page and NOT in the “boxes” area of the profile. With their forces combined, they are Captain Planet…or at least something similar to Bandcamp.

    Being a one-man-band, it’s a real headscratcher. Do we wanna be overlooked on MySpace? Or lost in the constantly updated newsfeed on Facebook?

    I can’t deny that the first thought that ran through my head when I started pondering the idea of making my own music was to claim my MySpace URL before anyone else snatched up the idea. That was early 2008. Shortly after I got all hyped up about wrock and making friends with other wrock bands, I found MySpace abandoned and empty. It was like hearing a cicada yet only seeing it’s empty shell stuck to a tree, and wondering where all the fuss has moved to. I moved most of my efforts to Facebook after seeing the depressing new addition to MySpace: Band Stats. I found many bands on the FB pages and personal profiles of my favorite singers. I was so excited, so I started one for myself. It’s been a trying experience when I attempt to spread word of my music to the community when the community couldn’t be accessed. I sent many requests attempting to make a friend or two, but I was denied. Over and over and over again. I love my friends, and they love me, but I honestly can’t keep asking the same few hundred people to “become of a fan of KwikSpell.” How can you be reinserted in the community that moved from MySpace to Facebook if the community remains hidden and shrouded in secrecy? I dunno either.

    Seemed to me, the next frontier of forceful exposure was to make a personal band website. I wish more of the bands, small and large, would make personal websites. I think it’s kinda neat. You can remove all the bullshit and completely focus on improving your music, attracting new fans, and expressing more creativity through visuals that represent your sound. I personally like the non-competitive aspect of having a personal site. I am not comparing myself other bands, or trying to pit for the attention of the pillars in the community. I like living in my own little world and pretending this is an equal oppertunity situation and that I am good enough. I am good enough damnit! *strokes own ego*

    I update my MySpace page to let people know I have new songs up on my Last.FM, that, in turn, sends a tweet out to my Facebook page that grows stagnant and vice versa. It all works, I just prefer my Twitter and my Weebly.


  21. Matthias
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 12:33:51

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