If you are above the age of 30, it is more than likely that you had a Myspace account. Myspace was “the place to be” before Facebook came along. The question is: Do you know what happened to your Myspace account? Did you abandon it when you converted to Facebook? Or is it still floating around out there in cyberspace?
Chances are you never planned to go back to Myspace, but if you did, your plans have been altered. That may not necessarily be a bad thing if you posted embarrassing pictures or posts that may not be regarded highly by your current employers. A quick scan of social-media chatter reveals plenty of people expressing relief that their Myspace histories had been deleted. Snapchat and Instagram Stories have become popular for a reason — they let users post without worrying about adding skeletons to their closets. In an age when old tweets constantly resurface out of context and you can be canceled at a moment’s notice for anything you might have done at any point in your posting history, the obliteration of one’s Myspace history may come as a relief.
But for those who used Myspace as a career launch site – such as numerous musicians and artists – the latest announcement has been rather upsetting. Myspace just recently revealed it lost 12 years’ worth of music uploaded to its site, following a server migration error — a loss potentially amounting to 50 million songs. The Los Angeles-based company, which was once a leading music-sharing platform, announced that content uploaded to its site from its inception in 2003 up until 2015 may no longer be accessible.
“As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace,” the company said in a statement on its website. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”
The site is credited with helping launch the careers of numerous international artists, including Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys and Calvin Harris, who were discovered on the platform.
Steven Battelle, the former lead vocalist of British rock band LostAlone, expressed sadness at the data loss and said the platform played a pivotal role in the establishment of his group. “This makes me really sad, so much of the start of my band came from the exposure and community Mspace had,” he wrote on Twitter. “I still think it was the best platform for artists / bands. Just music and people who loved the music commenting on it.”
Generally speaking, big, mainstream data handlers like Myspace should be able to reliably store your data. They usually create backups and redundancies spread across multiple server farms. They should be able to revert after something like a failed server migration. If the website is going to make your data inaccessible by, say, ceasing operation, they should give you advance warning and the option to export your data. It should tell you proactively when there is a catastrophic screw-up. Myspace did none of these things, even though, even in its modern form, it almost certainly had the resources to do so.
Myspace has been in decline for years, unable to compete with other leading social media and music-sharing platforms including Facebook and YouTube, despite multiple redesigns of the site. In 2009, the platform employed approximately 1,600 people. It now has a staff of 150, according to the company website.
The Myspace debacle should be a lesson to younger people whose life revolves around social media: if it really truly matters, save it on a backup drive.