MySpace AND Facebook: Yesterday’s news

September 7, 2007, 11:37 PM UTC
Fortune

It’s become cliche for people in the know to say that MySpace, the News Corp. (NWS)-owned Internet company, isn’t cool anymore. Facebook is the site that’s got the momentum, these people say.

An recent interesting throwaway line in a really fascinating article shed some light on this debate:

The kids all said that a) no one listens to the radio anymore, b) they mostly steal music, but they don’t consider it stealing, and c) they get most of their music from iTunes on their iPod. They told us that MySpace is over, it’s just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth. That’s how they hear about music, bands, everything.

That’s a quote from Mark DiDia, head of operations for Columbia Records, which is owned by Sony (SNR). It comes from an article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, “The Music Man,” about Rick Rubin, the guru-like record producer that Sony hopes will save its slowing dying business. The “kids” DiDia refers to are recent college grads in a focus group. I’m certain that the management team at MySpace and Facebook will tell you a million reasons why the kids are wrong and that their business story will continue for years. Still, the thing about focus groups is that they don’t lie.

For what it’s worth, the kids may think Facebook is about to become uncool, but the oldsters are just discovering it. When I returned from a weeklong vacation I had 23 “friends” requests at Facebook, 9 from people I actually consider my friends or meaningful acquaintances. I go to Facebook about once every three weeks just to see who has asked to be my friend. I quickly leave, however, and suspect most of the 30-year-old-plus people who are now finding out about Facebook will do the same.