What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens need a MySpace account to access this music feature, so the usual concerns about privacy and social networking sites apply. Teens can listen to music for free, but there are plenty of opportunities to buy MP3s, albums, and ringtones through third-party sites. The extensive song library runs the gamut from completely tame to totally age-inappropriate, even for teens (some are very sexual, others reference violence and drinking, many have strong language, etc.). There's a fair amount of hating and other iffy behavior in the forums.
What's it about?
MUSIC.MYSPACE.COM gives users access to a huge catalog of music from major label, independent, and unsigned artists in a wide variety of genres. Teens can listen to songs for free or purchase MP3s, albums, and ringtones from other sites. One feature allows users to create one public playlist (up to 10 songs) and an infinite number of private playlists (up to 100 songs each), which they can listen to on the site's personal media player. Teens can also listen to playlists created by artists like Weezer and Moby, check out interviews and photo galleries, and learn about upcoming shows.
Is it any good?
Creating playlists is a lot of fun, and the media player is easy to use -- since it pops up, you don't have to stay on MySpace to use it. There's a cool feature that shows you the songs that your friends have added, although you can only share public playlists. Searching for songs or artists can be a bit tricky, since there are plenty of "imposter" profiles created by fans. And the onslaught of ads can get annoying, though teens may be used to it on MySpace. Still, it's worth putting up with these flaws to get access to the wide range of free songs.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what kind of music teens like and why. Do you listen to lyrics, or is it just the music itself that matters? If you liked a band's music but objected to their lyrics or message, would you still listen to them? How does the media help you discover new artists or groups? Parents can also review guidelines for social networking sites. What's safe to post, and what's off limits? How do you know whether you can trust someone enough to make them a "friend" so they have access to your private information?