After playing Napster founder in 'The Social Network,' JT takes on social media role in real life.
By Gil Kaufman
Photo: George Napolitano/ FilmMagic
It was one of the most spectacular flame-outs in Internet history, but the rise and precipitous fall of MySpace was not enough to scare away a new big-name investor: Justin Timberlake.
The singer-turned-actor, who earned praise for his work portraying the founder of Napster in the hit Facebook movie "The Social Network," announced on Wednesday that he was taking a minority stake in MySpace, which was sold to California-based Specific Media this week for $35 million in cash and equity, according to the Los Angeles Times. The amount of Timberlake's investment was not disclosed.
Specific took the troubled site off the hands of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which famously paid $580 million for the then-hot MySpace six years ago, when Facebook was not yet a social media giant. In the ensuing years, MySpace lost ground as Facebook became a massive presence, and News Corp. failed to turn around its fortunes, losing money and market share at an alarming pace, despite several attempts to make-over the site.
Timberlake said in a statement that he plans to revive the site in his role as creative director. "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," Timberlake said. "MySpace has the potential to be that place. ... 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."
Specific Media co-founder Tim Vanderhook said MySpace still has a global traffic base of nearly 100 million people every month (compared to Facebook's 750 million), and he is convinced the site can be brought back to "what it was supposed to be originally."
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