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MySpace in July: Best month ever?

Facebook has been edging past it in unique visitors since June, according to ComScore. But MySpace says those same statistics show its traffic is still strong, positioning it well for the launch of MySpace Music next month.

Recently, statistics firms haven't been too kind to MySpace, the News Corp.-owned social network that was at the center of Silicon Valley press love not so long ago. In June, ComScore reported that once-smaller Facebook had surpassed it in worldwide traffic for the first time.

But the news isn't all bad for MySpace, the company said in an e-mail Monday evening. ComScore statistics might be showing that Facebook is still growing rapidly, but the firm's numbers for July said that MySpace has surpassed 122 million unique visitors worldwide for the first time. Granted, it's been hovering between 100,000 and slightly more than 120,000 for the past year, but that's good to know it isn't shrinking.

Unfortunately for MySpace, ComScore now pegs Facebook at more than 144 million unique visitors worldwide.

Additionally, MySpace said, its Latin American traffic grew 10 percent month-over-month to 6.8 million, and Europe's visitors hit 30 million for the first time. International traffic is up from 53 million to 55 million unique visitors. In the U.S., where it still has a significantly larger foothold than Facebook, MySpace hit 75 million unique visitors for the first time. According to the same ComScore stats, Facebook is slightly less than 40 million in the U.S.

But MySpace has been trying to differentiate itself from the more directory-like "utility" Facebook of late, instead positioning itself as the heir apparent to MTV in pop-culture influence. It's no surprise that founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson are on the cover of September's Fast Company, spun as Hollywood moguls rather than dot-com entrepreneurs--their company will be launching MySpace Music, an ad-supported streaming music service, next month.

"As the stats from this month and previous months indicate, there's large upwards momentum ready for the MySpace Music launch," a release from the company declared.

That's a big deal. Music is at the core of MySpace's short history--it rose to fame as a promotional hub for indie bands--and that's one market share that Facebook hasn't been able to eat into.