It’s not fair to expect a platform to host content for free forever (cough Flickr cough) but when MySpace deleted a dozen years worth of content last month, users were understandably dismayed that they didn’t at least get a chance to download their content first.
Luckily for them, the Internet Archive has come to the rescue. They’ve managed to salvage MP3s uploaded to MySpace and has created an archive called “MySpace Dragon Hoard” to keep them in.
At 490,000 tracks, the archive represents a tiny percentage of the total tracks lost (this was estimated to be around 53 million) but a lot of users are pleased by the turn of events.
Jason Scott (@textfiles) tweeted that one creator managed to locate a track they had thought was lost for good, while Twitter user @pinkpushpop found a bunch of early clips from the likes of Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Donald Glover.
MySpace launched in 2003, and its peak popularity was between then and 2008. This was early in the internet era, and for many users it represented their first real online activity.
A number of users remarked on Twitter that they were just beginning to get into creating original content when they joined MySpace, and they uploaded their music there in what they had thought was a safe archive. Unfortunately, like many of us they had to learn the hard way that the only reliable archive is the one you control.
In any case, if you want to see if your old files are there, you can search the archive using the appropriately named search index Hobbit. The IA warns that Hobbit will take a little bit of time to initialize when you first load it, and that the archive “can best be described as unwieldy”.
Given that this is an almost accidental archive created from files downloaded “using unknown means by an anonymous academic study conducted between 2008 and 2010”, I think we can live with a little mess.