Justin Timberlake's Myspace releases iPhone app -- with GIFs

The mobile release, which includes a digital radio feature and an animated GIF tool, is part of a two year strategy to bring sexy back to the forgotten social service.

From left to right: Myspace CEO Tim Vanderhook, COO Chris Vanderhook, and Justin Timberlake. Myspace

Five months after launching the new Myspace to the public, Justin Timberlake and friends are making their social service for creatives, artists, and their fans available on the iPhone, perhaps where it was meant to be all along.

myspace iphone
Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

In 2011, Specific Media co-founders Chris and Tim Vanderhook and their music-mogul pal Justin Timberlake acquired what was left of the forgotten social network for $35 million. Since then, a Los Angeles team has set about rebuilding Myspace into a destination people actually want to visit -- not for traditional social networking per se, but for streaming music and connecting to everything associated with the music business. In January, an early version of the new Myspace was released to the public.

Wednesday, Myspace arrives on iPhone and mobile Web, and also sheds its beta label. The mobile application mirrors the overhauled Web site in both style and function (save for one iPhone-only surprise). For the unfamiliar, that means you'll find a delightful design that centers around an image-heavy stream of stories related to the people and content you're connected to on the service.

You also get a free streaming radio service with access to 53 million tracks. Just as on the Web, Myspace's radio feature is ever-present, meaning you can start listening to songs and stations wherever you are in the application by swiping up to reveal the music menu. In addition, play buttons sit atop artist profiles and offer people personalized radio stations tuned to the tastes of that particular artist.

Myspace radio features 53 million songs. Swipe up from anywhere in the app to reveal the music player. Screenshot by Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

"When you play an artist radio station, you're not just listening to their music, but you're listening to what they're interested in and the music that inspires them," Ali Tahmasbi, Myspace's VP of product management, told CNET. "We think it really helps establish a stronger connection between artists and their fans."

The iPhone application's claim to originality is a funky GIF creator that assists people in automatically stitching together frames from video capture or stills to build animated images. The feature isn't wholly original though, as it's definitely reminiscent of Twitter's Vine for creating sharable looping six-second videos.

Still, on the whole, Myspace and its companion iPhone application look like a fresh new space. There a few distinct features that could inspire people, particularly those with a creative bent, to take a second look. Tahmasbi declined to share how many users had signed up for the new Myspace to date but said he's happy with the company's progress thus far.

With the mobile release, new Myspace is now just Myspace. The network for creatives has supplanted the former place for friends at the Myspace.com domain and all classic profiles have been transitioned over to the new platform.

 

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