MySpace has taken a bold step and allowed a large quantity of bulk user data to be put up for sale on startup data marketplace InfoChimps. Data offered includes user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes. Friend lists are not included. Remember, Facebook and Twitter may be the name of the game these days in tech circles, but MySpace still sees 1 billion user status updates posted every month. Those updates will now be available for bulk analysis.
This user data is intended for crunching by everyone from academic researchers to music industry information scientists. Will people buy the data and make interesting use of it? Will MySpace users be ok with that? Is this something Facebook and Twitter ought to do? The MySpace announcement raises a number of interesting questions.
The 22 sets of data being made available are cheap. Prices range from $10 for raw dumps from the MySpace API to $300 for everything broken out by latitude and longitude. Subsequently derived data sets can be put on sale by InfoChimps users as well, with a revenue split.
Analysis coming from the data could include things like music trends per zipcode, popular URLs being shared, etc.
MySpace is generally thought of as a social network on the decline, but if it is able to position itself as the place to do music still then its hundreds of millions of users could remain engaged. Will data scientists want this data, though? Time will tell, but MySpace has long done cooler things with data than competitors Facebook and Twitter and people haven't gotten terribly excited about it yet.