Freemuse enters MySpace

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Freemuse enters MySpace

If MySpace was a country it would be among the ten largest countries in the world. On 2 May 2007, Freemuse became a citizen there – and soon after had numerous prominent visitors who left their business cards at the door step.

This article is for those of you who never really heard of MySpace, or never really understood how it could become so popular. It explains why Freemuse has decided to enter the ‘MySpace universe’.

By Mik Aidt


Click to go to www.myspace.com/musiccensorship

“MySpace – a place for friends. See who knows who, or how you are connected,” it reads on the “About”-page of the online community MySpace.com.
They might as well have written: “Show who you are by showing who your friends are.”
Because it is the concept of exchanging “cyber business cards” and small messages which is key to the tremendous success of MySpace.com.

In just a few years, since its launch in 2003, MySpace has become one of the world’s most famous and most frequently mentioned social networking spaces in cyberspace. In the beginning it was primarily designed for and used by musicians and music fans who wished to present music and exchange ideas, opinions, gossip and links.

The network of standardised home pages, socalled ‘profiles’, with an easy and free facility to upload music and videos, maintain weblogs and photo albums, made MySpace into a place where – mostly American – teenagers would meet and mingle just like they always have done it in the yard and corridors of their high schools, and at parties.

Within its first three years the web-phenomena grew to a giant community of 175 million users exchanging cyber business cards, and MySpace attracted more than twice as much traffic as the top ranking search engine Google.com.

Politicians, institutions and organisations were quick to discover it as a place to make contact with the younger generation. It became a place to market yourself, make yourself visible.

It is no longer MTV that controls the youth – what to listen to and what to wear. The youth of 2007 takes care of itself in this 24-hours 7-days-a-week party that keeps rolling in one giant, anarchistic and diverse ant hill with no ant-queen.


Click to go to www.myspace.com/musiccensorship

The MySpace party

Imagine you arrive to a party. Over in one corner you run into Peter. He’s chatting and cracking jokes with a couple of friends. One of them appears to be Tony Blair, and the girl… isn’t that Beyonce?

In another corner you say hi to Maria. She is in the centre of a circle, surrounded by people. You don’t seem to know any of them, really, but wow… so MANY of them! It makes you curious: why is she catching all that attention?

In a third corner, you bump into someone you have never met before. But you can’t help noticing that she is having a conversation with Sting – a musician whose music you know well, and value. That makes you say hello to them, and you stay in their corner listening to their conversation for a while.

This is basically how it works at the MySpace party. The first thing most people do when they check out someone’s profile is: which “friends” have left their business cards on the desk there, and how many of them. Your number of friends is the currency of MySpace.

Promoting your friends

Take an artist such a Deeyah who has struggled with censorship issues and death threats because of her lyrics which some religious people find controversial. She has close to 100,000 friends on MySpace. And when Deeyah decides to rank Freemuse as the friend on top of that list, then of course it means something. First of all, she kindly passes a bit of that attention she recieves on to Freemuse.

Within the first 48 hours of Fremuse’s recidency in MySpace, Freemuse received greetings and cyber business cards from 54 friends, among those bands such as Gorillaz (572,073 friends) and Article 19 (3,556 friends), and artists such as Karsh Kale (29,920), Timbuktu (15,068), Mercan Dede (5,388), Clotaire K (1,529), fRoots magazine editor Ian Anderson (782), organisations such as Amnesty International (2,051), the record company Putumayo (3,035), the makers of a documentary film about Dixie Chicks’ censorship experiences (6,493 friends), and so on.

The downside of MySpace is that it is full of false profiles, and that many of your socalled “friends” might turn out to be friendly with you only because they are looking for exposure, visibility, attention and fame on the net.


Click to go to www.myspace.com/musiccensorship

Censorship on MySpace

MySpace has its own censorship issues – and they are frequently debated in blogs as well as in the MySpace-forums.
In 2005 and 2006, MySpace reportedly turned off a MySpace blog forum where MySpace users were discussing the censorship issues. (Source: CensorSpace.com). And in 2007, MySpace allegedly deleted the profile of an openly homosexual band, Kids On TV, with no explanation other than violation of MySpace’s Terms of Service.

Kids On TV then set up a MySpace ‘Censorship Profile’ to see if others had similar experiences.
“Out of the woodwork came a number of queer artists and organizations who had also fallen victim to deletion for reasons as vapid and unspecific as possible photo captions,” told a band member on BlogTo. The owner of MySpace, Rupert Murdoch, is quoted for openly opposing homosexuality, saying: “I’m considered homophobic and crazy about these things and old fashioned.”


Listen and see

We’ve uploaded a couple of Freemuse video interviews and some music which has been produced for the yearly Music Freedom Day, with more to come – and when we get an opportunity we will also use the blog facility to keep in touch with our Freemuse MySpace-friends.

After all, this is one of the important features that Freemuse can offer: networking. To a musician who has been censored or imprisoned, or felt it necessary to self-censor, it can change this musician’s perspective on the situation to hear how other musicians have dealt with the same kind of issues. Support, network, exchange of experiences, a sense of community – it can make a tremendous difference.

If you want to sign up as a member of the MySpace-community, you can do it as an individual person ( / fan) or as a band ( / musician). Follow the links below.




Click to go to www.myspace.com/musiccensorship


Click to see Freemuse's profile on MySpace.com


Freemuse’s MySpace profile:

www.myspace.com/musiccensorship

Sign-up as an artist or a band:

signup.myspace.com

Sign-up as an individual:

signup.myspace.com

Sources

Russell Shaw – 18 May 2007:
‘MoveOn.org accuses MySpace of “selective online censorship” ‘

MoveOn.org – continously updated:

‘MySpace Censors User-Generated Content’

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