Sunday, June 23, 2013

MySpace's New Layout & Band Page Info Deletions, And How It Affects The SMS

This post is dedicated to outlining changes to one of our biggest band page sources, and what this means for our links and coverage at The Sault Metal Scene. In a nutshell, social networking website and popular band page resource MySpace had a new profile layout, format, and direction rolled out last weekend, which focuses on music and artists. You think this would be good for what we do on the site, especially as the past uses of it as a social networking portal have fallen by the wayside compared to Facebook and Twitter, but not quite. As part of the upgrades, almost everything has been deleted from old MySpace pages with the exception of songs (if you had any uploaded), your existing friends (now called "connections"), and your profile photo. Biography information, videos, blog postings, page comments, most external applications, and games are all gone, though other photos can be retrieved on request if you log in. I'll note that MySpace administrators did not give any advance warning about these deletions, and while there is a visible outcry from existing users, I have little faith that MySpace will bring the info back (though Microsoft did revert on some of it's unpopular Xbox One policies, so who knows.)

Now, what does this mean for the site and local metal/hard rock bands? This honestly won't have a direct bearing on most current artists, as few local bands primarily used MySpace for their online media anymore compared to Facebook or Reverbnation, but this is a major headache for me and local music fans who used MySpace to catch up on older local bands. Unlike the closure of GarageBand, MySpace didn't give advance warning that they were going to delete so much from pages, so we went from a vast resource of band information to a stripped down version that feels more like a glossed up Soundcloud out of nowhere. To be fair, there is potential for the new MySpace, as Sault Ontario hardcore band Destroilet have made effective use and updates of their MySpace page, but they lost all old info too when they upgraded early, and many bands had a lot of information, posts, details, and videos there that was really a benefit to fans of local music. If the goal is to turn MySpace music-centric, why delete things that would have supported that aim?

As a current use site, this won't be a major loss, but in terms of material and SMS usage, this is a huge blow, but to try and soften it as much as I could, I archived biography information and details on as many local metal/hard rock bands that I could using cached copies of each using Google, so save for blog posts and videos, I think I have much of what would be handy. However, I had to update, change, and in some cases, delete some band links due to the "updates", as they made almost all local band MySpace pages shells of their former selves, and no longer the most updated and representative page for their information, material, and concert listings. For some, I left their MySpace page linked here as it still had audio material, and still remains their most substantial (or only) online page, but I saved info for most via cached page copies. For an unlucky 15 bands, the MySpace changes eliminated all info that kept them in our listings, and because they have no songs there, or other surviving online pages, I had to regrettably delete them.

Just to outline all the changes to the band links on here, I'll run through them quickly, and if a specific band isn't mentioned, I either left their MySpace page alone out of necessity, or they weren't linked to MySpace in our band listings. Most of the link switches were to Facebook pages or groups, with Sault Ontario bands As It Stands, The Bear Hunters, Changing Waves, Destroilet, Detroit, Dirty Virgin, For All That Is Lost, Gates of Winter, The Issues, Lion Ride, Lorax, Paraside, Riverin, and Shit Liver, and Sault Michigan bands Clownsack, Drayton Fever, Insipid Brutality, Life's Eclipse, Nixxon Dixxon, Oddfellow, Scofflaw, Swampghas, and Unleashed now linked through there. I also switched 5 bands each from their MySpace to Reverbnation & PureVolume pages, with Bad Side, Elipzis, Integrated System of Machines, No Arrow, and Skull After Betrayl now linked through Reverbnation, and Apocrytha, Dark Salvation, Fitswitch, Infrastrate, and Mike Libertoski now linked through PureVolume.

I also moved two bands from MySpace to SoundClick pages (No Remains & Traces), while the other switches were for single bands, which now link to 2wo Man Baand's Freewebs page, ApocalyptiCDistroyeR's Wix website, Bent Rollercoaster's OurStage page, and Woods of Ypres' Bandcamp page. As for page deletions, as these artists had no songs on MySpace or other existing online pages, I regrettably have deleted 15 metal/hard rock acts from our SMS band listings, including Sault Ontario artists Caedis Omnis, Ephidel, The Pisstanks, Route 69, Steven Flint, When They Fall, and Wrathborne, and Sault Michigan-regional artists 7/47, Cherubic Red, Riot! By Night, Savage Roar, Shift, Traynwreck, Twisted Manikin, and Wild Fate. Most weren't too active in their heyday (Shift & Route 69 being notable exceptions), but even though I hate deleting links, I had to so we didn't link to barren, uninformative pages for the sake of preservation. No offense is intended to these bands' members!

The last switches that I have to make relate to MySpace links for non-bands on the site, and I'll tackle that soon. I hope MySpace administrators listen to their fans and bring back at least previous profile information, photos, blogs, and videos, as all would benefit their music-centric aims and show that they listen to their users, but I'm not holding out hope that they will. I just wanted to let you guys know about what happened and how it affects the SMS, and if your band has a MySpace page, I'd say spruce it up and make use of the new features, even if what's old is lost, as I can see it having some good uses. It's just a frustrating no-warning change, but I think we'll be alright in the long run. Stay tuned for more news soon, and thanks for the patience!

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