The ancient social networking company, MySpace, announced on Monday that it had accidentally lost 12 years worth of music in a data migration process. The social network was the most popular among web users in the early 2000’s. The network allowed users to create personalized profiles wherein they were able to share music, photos and other content with friends and family. The social network lost a significant amount of its users when Facebook began to overtake the market around 2008. MySpace wasn’t just a social networking site, but a place for musicians to network and share new projects. It was the most successful, and prolific, online music network available for a significant portion of the last 20 years. Now, all of that is gone in a supposed technology failure that deleted up to 55 million songs—among other user-uploaded videos and photos—over the course of one weekend.
Was It An Accident?
Buzz surrounding the lost data started circulating early on Monday after MySpace users started seeing a banner on the website that read, “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 banner confirmed what many had been thinking for years; that MySpace has slowly been ridding itself of older user-uploaded content. The company claims that the loss of content was due to a server error that occurred when migrating data from one host to another. However, many suspect that the issue was no accident at all, but that MySpace simply didn’t want to pay for the migration of all of that data.
MySpace was once valued at around $12 billion during its heyday. The company was passed around quite a bit between 2005 and 2016 when it was finally purchased by Time, Inc. for a measly $35 million. Since then, users have experienced changes to the site that have made it harder to access any data uploaded before 2015. Odd, considering the most recent banner on the site blames the data losses on a migration that happened just recently. Reports of lost files go back quite a few years, and heartbroken artists have claimed that they’ve lost work they can never get back. For a company that managed to perch itself fairly high in the musical zeitgeist of the early 2000’s, this is a major loss.
What This Means For Music
While we can hope that users would have had these files backed up elsewhere or simply hosted on other music sharing platforms, that probably isn’t always the case. MySpace, despite its lack of popularity among the social networking market, has remained one of the most successful music sharing platforms of the last two decades. This massive loss indicates possibly lost entire discographies. “MySpace is really the most, and, in my opinion, only successful social media x music platform,” says Lina Abascal, author of the up and coming book on Bloghouse, one of the many genres to pop up in the MySpace era.
If for no other reason, such a massive data loss should be a fair warning to internet users everywhere. Depending on free hosting sites to maintain important files for long periods of time is a risk that too many take. Platforms like SoundCloud have since replaced MySpace in terms of popularity in music hosting, but what will happen when the next platform comes around? If this doesn’t serve as a reminder to back everything up, nothing will.
If you’re like me, though, and had a MySpace page in your early teen years—well, take this as a blessing now that you’re entering the workforce.