Myspace isn’t the online giant it used to be, but the site sure was huge back in its day: In 2006, it passed Google to become the most visited website in the United States. Aside from being one of the first big social media sites, Myspace gave users the ability to upload and share music on the site, which made it a useful platform for up-and-coming musicians. That’s what makes this news so sad: Myspace has confirmed that during a server migration, files were corrupted, meaning that over 50 million songs uploaded between 2003 (the year the site launched) and 2015 are gone forever.
The site said in a statement, “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. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that you retain your back up copies. If you would like more information, please contact our Data Protection Officer, Dr. Jana Jentzsch at DPO@myspace.com.” Furthermore, a user received an email from Myspace which read, “Due to a server migration files were corrupted and unable to be transferred over to our updated site. There is no way to recover the lost data.”
This corrupted data represents a significant loss for music history: As Andy Baio, the first chief technical officer of Kickstarter, noted, “MySpace was the Bandcamp and Soundcloud of its day. 14 million bands set up pages there, and for many, it was their first online presence. Adele, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Fall Out Boy, Owl City, and countless others launched their careers there.”
In addition to artists who later made it big, Myspace was also home to many acts who may have only ever uploaded their music to Myspace. One Twitter user wrote, “This just reminded me that the hardcore band from western KY that I loved in 2008 existed almost exclusively on Myspace and now I’m really sad.”
Artists are bummed about the loss too: Steven Battelle, of the defunct UK band LostAlone, lamented the loss of the music, writing, “This makes me really sad, so much of the start of my band came from the exposure and community Myspace had. I still think it was the best platform for artists/bands. Just music and people who loved the music commenting on it none of the awfulness of FB etc.”
A few years ago, it was revealed that Myspace accounts were severely prone to hijacking, since the account recovery page only asked for a person’s real name, username, and birthday in order to recover their account.