Look, I’ve always found Justin Timberlake to be innately curious and very entrepreneurial. I first met him back in early 2000 just after *NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached” album was released. He and the band had just released their first single, “Bye Bye Bye” and had officially exploded on the scene. They were, literally, going a million-miles an hour.
Over the next 10-years, I noticed in the interviews I would do with Justin that he had other interests than ‘just’ fronting a band. The above picture is of Justin and me at his PGA Golf Tourney in Las Vegas. I believe it is from his first year fronting the tourney and bringing in Shriner’s Hospital. Speaking of golf, golf was a big thing for him back when we chatted in 2002, telling me about playing the sport with his dad and how cool it would be to own your own course someday. We laughed about never needing a tee-time. He doesn’t. I still do!. But, anyway, the point is, he’s always looked outside the “music-box”, as it were, to grow and invest. He does own a course in his native Tennessee (the eco-friendly Mirimichi Golf Course), restaurants, clothing line and just sold to Apple an app-company he backed called Particle.
So, if you think about it, MySpace makes sense. Just like the run-down golf course he snapped-up, pivoted and turned fabulous, Justin snapped-up (with investors) the run-down, on-it’s-last-legs MySpace. It is here where I must make an important point. There is another reason Justin’s investments outside of music seem to work. Sure, he’s mostly using OPM, other people’s money, but he brings a fantastic ‘brand’ to every deal. Not just his notoriety, but his persona which has a fantastic quality –authenticity. Often persona and authenticity, espesh in Hollywood and music, are mutually exclusive. Not here and that is what attracts investors, fans and customers. He’s not going to do it half-assed. As my entrepreneurial wife always tells me –authenticity is key.
Case in point, “Justin Timberlake’s MySpace” (as I’m calling it) is headed in the right direction with a very nicely done ‘sizzle’ reel of what it will be when it launches. If MySpace were a house, Justin and his team demolished it, leaving only the foundation and constructed something entirely new, complete with all the latest gizmos.
Can JTMS bridge the gap between musician/artist and fans? I believe it can, but it won’t be easy. It’s an entirely different social landscape today than when MySpace or Facebook launched. It’s another planet, really. But, Justin’s foray into this internet space seems justified.