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Hands On: New Myspace review

Can Timberlake and co turn a bad joke into a musical success?

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Video

The video player is also pretty cool. Hitting play on any video starts it playing in full screen, while joggling the mouse brings up a side panel so you can comment or share it.

If you want to carry on doing some other stuff while the video plays, hitting escape shrinks the video down to a thumbnail in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

Closing that thumbnail leaves you with just the audio, no video. It's seamless to use and really handy for anyone whose attention span doesn't quite stretch to a full 3 minute music video - and, in these internet-heavy days, that's pretty much everyone.

There's no way to share videos from YouTube or Vimeo though; you'll either have to use a video from Myspace's artist library, or make and upload your own.

Other features

When you sign up to New Myspace, you're given the option to (rather loftily) categorise yourself as a musician, photographer, filmmaker, curator, designer/creative, entertainer, DJ/producer, brand, venue, writer, promoter, comedian or fan.

Options

Clearly the site wants to be the go-to online portfolio for entertainers of all shapes and sizes; we're not sure yet if this is a bit of a square-peg round-hole situation.

What's missing?

It's pretty obvious that any self-respecting music service in this day and age needs a mobile version; MySpace hasn't got this yet but says it's coming soon (currently in alpha). We asked about whether this will mean subscription costs or bring offline streaming a la Spotify and Rdio, but there's no word on that yet.

As with any socially-driven endeavour, Myspace won't come into its own until it has more people using it; that's when you'll be able to dig through like-minded people's playlists and spy on what your friends are listening to. At this point, it's impossible to say whether the new Myspace will take off (over on our Facebook page, TechRadar readers are… less than enthused).

On that note, we're also looking forward to the site integrating Facebook and Twitter log-ins so that you can comb through your existing user lists for friendly Myspacers. That's also coming soon, so we're told.

Early verdict

After an admittedly brief (overnight) play with the new Myspace, we're tentatively impressed. It's obvious that a lot of work has gone into making the site simple and beautiful to use.

Unfortunately there are stumbling blocks – because there are so many things to do, so many routes to take, so many different and various things to connect to that we're like a kid in a toy shop with no idea where to start.

With all this choice, we're a bit worried that Myspace has taken on too much with this brave new ethos of creativity above all else; if it was trying to be just a major music destination, we could get our heads around it, but the site is trying to own video and photography and (no matter what it says differently) social networking too.

Will it pay off? Or will Myspace end up offering so many things that people don't use it for anything? At this point, we really don't know - but it's a good start.