Big media hotspot bought by bigger media

I haven’t completely formulated thoughts on the purchase of MySpace by Intermix Media that’s being discussed over at the Zine, but it does serve nicely to introduce a theme (or rather the inverse of a theme) that I pick up on all the time: the decentralization of media. Media is getting more specific. Way more specific and niche oriented than could have ever previously been imagined. The Zine is a pretty decent example of tiny niche media. And of course, it’s something I created almost on accident.

I wasn’t thinking about the decentralization of media when I threw around the idea of a site that used Nashville indie rockers to cover Nashville indie rock, but it certainly happened. When the site works well (i.e. when the contributors are really firing on all cylinders) we cover our beat better than any big media could. And now that I think about it, though I never thought about the “decentalization of media” when I put NashvilleZine online, I did often use the word “decentralized” to describe our “bullpen.”

We get news and show info sent to the main email address which I then forward to the contributors. I don’t assign stories or posts. Whoever gets to it first writes it. I edit articles after they appear on the site. Nobody “reports” to me. I mean, it’s a group blog. But operating without the traditional reporter-editor net gives our “reporters” the opportunity to report in real-time on the web. I’d imagine, though I don’t know, that it’s much more like live TV news. A reporter and camerman on a scene aren’t specifically edited as the story breaks but they are later when the story is cut for later runs.

Anyway, it’s why we and our commentors make so much fun of stories about the Nashville music scene, because here we are able to report on it as it happens, shooting-from-the-hip like Judd Nelson and we see others come to town (or just come to shows) and give their stupidly-edited, semi-formal introductions to a scene that we talk about off-the-cuff everyday. It’s also why we miss tons of stories because it sometimes doesn’t occur to us that something is news. To us it’s just what we heard at the show the other night.

But back to MySpace. As one commentor pointed out:

The problem is that this is seen as a giant untapped advertising market, not a social networking portal.

He’s absolutely right. I think the purchase of MySpace by Intermix (now owned by NewsCorp) shows a bad centralizing move that will kill whatever cool MySpace has. No longer will it be thousands of individuals almost randomly interacting with one another but it will be a database of the likes and dislikes of thousands of consumers. The ads are shitty enough as it is. What now?

Well, I think it will drive people away from big centralized social portals and into smaller niche portals.

But if NewsCorp can get rid of all those “Sorry an unexpected error has occured” messages, it just might be worth it.