MySpace Makes Room for iLike

If LinkedIn is for professionals and Facebook is for friends, then MySpace is still the social network destination for teens/young adults to sing the praises of the rock bands that they love. To that end, MySpace announced Wednesday that it would build on that relationship by acquiring Seattle-based social music application makers iLike.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but a blog post on iLike’s Web site made it clear that the company’s founders would stay on as the two technologies are merged.

“By joining forces with MySpace, we think we can provide an unmatched social music platform to help you discover music and connect with your favorite artists,” cofounders Ali and Hadi Partovi wrote. “The Web site and applications will continue to operate as they always have — except that we’ll be working to make them even better in the weeks and months to come.”

Since it went online in 2006, iLike has shot to the top of the music applications charts on Facebook; company officials say there are 50 million registered users and 10 million active monthly users. iLike offers those users the chance to share playlists, music recommendations and concert updates.

The company also announced Wednesday that it will now enable users to buy songs and albums in MP3 format while on the Web site, but it’s unclear exactly how MySpace plans on leveraging that ability as the companies merge.

Singing the Right Demographic Tune

“This just seems like a win-win,” social media analyst and coauthor of The Social Media Bible Lon Safko told the E-Commerce Times. He cites two sources of information for that opinion: demographics that have MySpace trending youngest of the three major social networks, and his own experience raising a teenage daughter.

“If you look at the buying and spending habits of that age group, it’s all about music. Their lives are about iPods and downloading. It’s all they talk about,” Safko said. With MySpace and iLike combined, “we go back to this trusted network. The reason MySpace works is that teenagers are trusting each other, they have a private place they can communicate. When you have a sanctioned area where you’re talking about the strongest of like-minded people, the psychological effect for younger audiences is really strong.”

Follow the Money

MySpace executives are likely cuing up in their minds the first 30 seconds of Pink Floyd’s “Money” when thinking about the revenue-generating possibilities of this acquisition, Safko added. “When it comes to revenue, oh my God,” Safko said with a laugh. “Imagine what you can squeeze out of these teenagers — concert tickets, iTunes downloads. As soon as one person says, ‘This is the best song,’ all 25 or 30 of their friends are going to go to iTunes and buy it themselves. The viral sales are a heck of an opportunity, and there’s (advertising) click-throughs too.”

MySpace, which is in the middle of restructuring to regain some momentum lost to Facebook and Twitter, could also consider using the iLike platform for other media interests such as movies and TV shows. However, Safko counsels that MySpace should focus on music first. Besides, merging the two platforms may present new, unforeseen problems.

“It’s always the stuff that applies to every single buyout,” said Safko. “How well is the platform going to integrate? A lot of times, it’s not intuitive or not working, or maybe it does but there are security issues. We’ll have to see. Those are technical issues. If they think it through properly, I don’t think it will be a problem.”

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