Could Hollywood Undead Have Saved MySpace Records?

Posted by on January 18, 2010

We’re hearing rumors of major shakeups at MySpace Records, if not a complete shutdown of the label altogether. Information is scarce on the joint venture between the News Corp-owned social network and Interscope Records, but TechCrunch reports multiple sources confirm the release of a large chunk of the label’s team, as well as GM Jay Scavo.

TechCrunch also reports the label’s partnership with Interscope remains intact, and all the bans currently signed to MySpace Records will remain with the label (presumably to be moved around the Interscope system in the event of a shutdown).

While the label hasn’t seen a major commercial success since its inception in 2005, it actually had a future blockbuster for a first signing: Hollywood Undead.

The controversial rap/metal crossover act quickly caught the attention of the newly formed label after it accumulated 65,000 friends in three months, only to be let go shortly after over a censorship dispute. From this interview:

They wanted to censor us and we weren’t going to do it and they wanted us to take the profanity out of half our songs and change the other half, and we weren’t going to do that.

The band was then shifted to A&M/Octone, another label in the Interscope system, where it went on to sell over 600,000 copies of its debut album. So, could Undead’s Swan Songs have prevented MySpace Records’ swan song? Our (completely uneducated) guess says no, or at best it would have delayed the inevitable.

First of all, Octone did a tremendous job marketing the band, whose genre didn’t have a clearly defined, existing audience at the time. There’s no guarantee MySpace’s team would have been able to replicate that success, but even assuming they would, the profits might not have been enough to please their new corporate overlords. MySpace as a whole has been under extreme financial scrutiny since its acquisition, so a few million dollars from one division would have been of little concern to a company that was expected to bring in hundreds of millions. Even if the label managed to squeak out meager profits, it would likely still have been under the gun in News Corp’s streamline agendas to fix MySpace.

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Categorised in: Shakeups