MySpace fatigue may be on the rise, as are alternative social-networking sites like Virb and Facebook, but several local musicians told the Press last week they can't imagine doing without it. "When I'm dealing with big record-label execs, they ask me what my 'numbers' are on MySpace plays, friends, visits, etc.," says rapper Karina Nistal, who uses her MySpace page as her main Web site, not www.karinanistal.com. "It has its significance."
The sheer amount of music available on MySpace can be humbling, reckons Carrie Ann Buchanan, front woman of Carrie Ann and the Apocalyptics. "It really shows just how many musicians are out there trying to get their music to the masses and what a little splash you are making in your own feeble attempts," she says.
Even so, most agree that MySpace's appeal isn't what it used to be. "It has so many glitches now, and people in general just don't sign on as much, or just don't care about bulletins or invites," offers Program singer/guitarist Pedro Tijerina. Like several others, Tijerina says he doesn't use MySpace as often as he used to, but "I still get on every day."
As MySpace has become overrun with big record labels pumping money into hyping their bands, smaller artists don't get quite the same push. "Independent acts, especially roots music, don't get much exposure," says Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers singer Leslie Lindley. "MySpace is less of a community and more of a commercially sponsored Internet billboard."
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Others mentioned the sheer amount of traffic as one of MySpace's major turnoffs, along with inevitable bugaboos like spam, its awkward layout and long load times. Still others have run into people who just can't be bothered with something as pedestrian as a MySpace page.
"When you tell a DJ or reporter that you can check us out on MySpace, there is the occasional eye-rolling," says Buchanan.
But as a tool for networking with fans and other bands, discovering new music and places to play, setting up shows out of town, and anything else that falls under the umbrella of promotion, MySpace remains unsurpassed. Especially considering the price.
"A lot of musicians are on a pretty tight promotional budget, so MySpace works well," notes Buchanan. "It's free, for goodness' sake does that make it a less viable Web site?"