Looks like Justin Timberlake took his "The Social Network" role to heart.
The singer and actor will have an ownership role in MySpace and will help develop the site's creative direction and strategy, Specific Media announced on Wednesday shortly after buying the company from News Corp.
“There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place,” Timberlake said in a statement. “Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment. I’m excited to help revitalize MySpace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community.”
For its part, Specific is thrilled to have the "SexyBack" singer on board. Although, his portrayal of Facebook guru Sean Parker may leave some question about his social networking loyalties.
“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to rebuild and reinvigorate MySpace,” Tim Vanderhook, CEO of Specific Media, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with someone as talented as Justin Timberlake, who will lead the business strategy with his creative ideas and vision for transforming MySpace. This is the next chapter of digital media, and we are excited to have a hand in writing the script."
Timberlake's involvement would seem to indicate that Specific Media is interested in exploiting MySpace's reputation as a destination for music lovers. It also signals that Specific is interested in trying to revitalize MySpace as an online community, and is not just eager to mine its 70 plus users' personal information for ad targeting.
That strategy could have its perils. News Corp. relaunched MySpace last Fall as a destination for music fans, but its membership rolls have continued to plummet. Desperate to unload MySpace from its books, News Corp. sold the site to Specific for $35 million. That's a steep drop from the $580 million it paid to acquire the social media network in 2005.
As part of the deal for MySpace, News Corp. will get a 10 percent stake in Specific Media.
To borrow a page from Timberlake, that makes the Irvine-based ad broker and Rupert Murdoch's media empire corporate "Friends With Benefits."