"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
The once-dominant social network MySpace is revamping its home page. It’s looking a little more like its more popular and populous rival, Facebook, even as it attempts to set itself apart.
In simplifying its user home page, MySpace is making users’ stream wider and more prominent. The stream is the constantly updated flow of status updates and shared content, much like the news feed that is front and center in Facebook.
MySpace also is consolidating recommendations, such as games, events and “people you may know,” into one section instead of scattering them around the page. And users’ photos, videos, music and events will be combined under a “My Stuff” section on their home page.
The redesign is part of a broader overhaul of MySpace, as the site works to stay relevant to its current audience and draw in new users, including those who haven’t visited in years.
In setting itself apart from Facebook — which in just a couple of years dethroned MySpace as a media darling and Internet favorite — MySpace is focusing on attracting younger users and helping them discover new things.
That has been the site’s forte since its heyday, when teens flocked to MySpace to find out about new music and design their often flashy, jumbled home pages. Facebook, meanwhile has become especially popular with the over-35 crowd.
MySpace President Mike Jones said the latest changes are in preparation for a big overhaul in the fall, “so as we turn on the full relaunch it’s not a shock to the system.”
The goal is to be relevant to 13- to 34-year-olds and help them discover new people and new content.
EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson called the redesign smart, a clear departure from the MySpace of old that was a “cluttered, messy catchall.”
“Do I wish it happened sooner? Yes,” she said.
But it didn’t, and in the meantime Facebook has grown to 500 million. MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., has more than 120 million users worldwide.
“MySpace and Facebook really aren’t even competing in the same category any more,” Williamson said. “Which is good. For MySpace to be successful they need to carve out their own place.”
MySpace remains a go-to place for many new musicians who want to showcase their music and interact with their audience. If MySpace’s overhaul works, making music and entertainment front and center could help it serve the same purpose MTV did a generation ago. If it doesn’t, it could go the way of another once-dominant network, Friendster.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)