back to article From MySpace to MyFreeDiskSpace: 12 years of music – 50m songs – blackholed amid mystery server move

MySpace, the Norma Desmond of social networking platforms, appears to have lost all the music uploaded to the site since its founding in 2003 through 2015, a blunder the company reportedly attributes to a failed server migration. The lost files – said to amount to 50 million songs from 14 million artists – appear to be …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    I wonder

    Will we ever see a time when Facebook loses everything, and people take a year to notice? Or is that just wishful thinking?

    1. Garymrrsn

      Re: I wonder

      What would be the cost of hosting 50 million old MP3s?

      1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

        Re: I wonder

        What would be the cost of hosting 50 million old MP3s?

        ==

        call it 5MB per MP3 so around 250 TB's of storage [now] going spare ........................

        I'm another that thinks they just CBA keeping the old stuff, and would also wonder how they 'lost' everything and only appear to have a single copy too, whatever happened to BACKUP, then BACKUP again, before doing ANYTHING D/B related

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder

          call it 5MB per MP3 so around 250 TB's of storage [now] going spare ........................

          Even if the average MP3 was as large as 5MB (which it wouldn't have been back in 2003 at least) that's the kind of storage that would easily fit into a single rack nowadays.

        2. big_D Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: I wonder

          But, its the cloud!?

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: What would be the cost of hosing 50 million old MP3s?

        Much less than the cost of hosting them.

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: What would be the cost of hosing 50 million old MP3s?

          That really depends on the infrastructure in use and the number and structure of the backup strategies used. While large to most small to medium businesses, it's not to enterprises nor my personal systems. I tally up here at 8 TB globally unique files and just happen to be creating new post-apocalypse copies. Even with high-end, latest, greatest, geographically dispersed strategy we really aren't talking about that much money for an enterprise at their scale.

          This sounds rather more as if they hadn't been doing test restores for quite some time. You are only as good as your last restore.

          [For absolute protection, you need storage amounts around twenty times the globally unique data sources. I'm not at that level but working on it,.]

      3. druck Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        Reply I suspect it isn't the cost of the storage, but the cost of ensuring that none of those MP3s are copyrighted, that caused them to be accidentally deleted.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          >but the cost of ensuring that none of those MP3s are copyrighted

          All of them would have been copyrighted; just not necessarily to the person who uploaded them...

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I wonder

        if a typcal mp3 file is 6Mbytes in length [a bit large, but good for ballparking it] then 50 million would be 300 million megabytes, or about 300 terabytes. That's about $10k worth of hard disks, not including config'ing them as a RAID [which would be what, 4 times as many?]. So, not a lot, compared to annual revenue.

        And with all of the other "old crap" that goes with those mp3s, probably 10 to 100 times as much stuff [photos, videos, etc.] in total. So you're talking maybe $100k to $1M.

        Still "do-able" but bottom line is what it is. To your old schtuff that you stored on MySpace: Buh-BYE!

        (yeah "the cloud" is HIGHLY overrated)

        1. Pirate Dave

          Re: I wonder

          "So, not a lot, compared to annual revenue."

          Your assumption is that there IS "annual revenue" to compare to.

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      I suspect that if it were all stuff uploaded on to Facebook was over 3 years ago, a good majority of people might not realise it was missing either.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      If past experience is any indication, then this would be a matter of when, not if. MySpace is one of a couple of such services that were, in their heyday, so dominating that nobody thought they'd ever become nonfactors.

    4. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      Will we ever see a time when Facebook loses everything

      Not if there is even a remote chance of the data being monetized, no.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        I invoke Murphey's Law (Sod's Law to you Brits) on this ...

        If there is even a remote chance of the data being monetized, then yes. It's inevitable.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: I wonder

          Jake's Corollary to Murphy's Law: If there is even a remote chance of the data being monetized, then yes. It's inevitable.

          how's that?

          Bombastic Bob's Corollary: "If it can be monetized, it will be."

        2. AS1
          Big Brother

          Re: I wonder

          They'd use an AI to rebuild your past profile based on your present profile. Similar to Hollywood movie scripts based on past events, deviations may apply, but how would you ever show otherwise?

          "He who controls the present, controls the past."

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: I wonder

            They'd use an AI to rebuild your past profile based on your present profile. Similar to Hollywood movie scripts

            We're sorry, but your data was deleted during an upgrade. Our AI has re-imagined your profile, and the new, improved and colorized, data has been re-shared with all your friends. There is no charge for this service.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    MySpace

    The clue is in the name.

    They've hired a Marie Kondo type to declutter all the unwanted stuff.

    Result:- MySpace.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: MySpace

      They found that the storage invoices didn't bring them joy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MySpace

      'They've hired a Marie Kondo type to declutter all the unwanted stuff.'

      If it was copies of Coldplay songs then I'm all for deleting that shit!

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: MySpace

        "If it was copies of Coldplay songs then I'm all for deleting that shit!"

        And get rid of anything by Red Hot Chili Peppers, too, while you're at it. And 70's disco. And anything that [ab]uses autotune.

    3. IceC0ld Bronze badge

      Re: MySpace

      They've hired a Marie Kondo type to declutter all the unwanted stuff.

      Result:- MySpace.

      ===

      Result :- MORE Space

      FTFY :o)

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    So....

    How's that cloud thing working for ya?

    (why no. I never get tired of posting this thankyouverymuch)

    1. VikiAi Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So....

      The Web2 men say "Up today."

      But all my data's gone away.

      And it's raining....

      Raining in the cloud!

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: So....

        MySpace today...

        my old data seemed so far away,

        How I wanted songs I used to play

        oh how I long, for yesterday...

        Where - did - my songs go?

        I don't know, they wouldn't say...

        Then - I - found out how

        they had thrown them all away-ay-ay-ay

        (etc.)

    2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: So....

      Aside from the fact that I can blow my entire data cap on the first terabyte, it's doing quite well.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    All the music?

    Wasn't the reason they "re-started" themselves after basically folding? And it took that long for anyone to notice too.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The rains came

    And who are you, the proud cloud said,

    That I must bow so low?

    Only a plate of different bits,

    That's all the truth I know.

    In a coat of rust or a coat of flash,

    A cloud still has claws,

    And mine are long and sharp, my lord,

    As long and sharp as yours.

    And so he spoke, and so he spoke,

    That lord of MySpace,

    But now the rains weep o'er his cloud,

    With no one there to retrieve-their-lifes-work.

    Yes now the rains weep o'er his cloud,

    And not a soul to hear.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: The rains came

      Are they still paying their debts?

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Likely sequence

    The migration failed. They scrapped the old servers and backups. Then they somebody noticed the failure. That's what it sounds like to me.

  7. Toolman83

    I favor incompetence over malice as a cause

    sounds like an array copy went wrong & the hapless techs initialized the source drives instead of the destination ones (there is a particularly stupidly configured default option in a vendor provided array copy software that I'm vaguely familiar with). Afterwards, the data could have still been accessed, but once the drives are written to... bing bang bong, good luck with that.

    Afterwards, well it is possible to forensically recover (most of) the data, but its very expensive & time consuming - they probably just decided to cut their losses

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Likely sequence

      Maybe the BIOS battery died and nobody noticed until they tried to reboot?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Likely sequence

        Maybe the BIOS battery died and nobody noticed until they tried to reboot?

        Pre-migration, MySpace was running on a bunch of pre-HP ProLiant servers, in putty-colored desktop tower cases...which probably still had more than enough CPU cycles to support their current traffic.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Likely sequence

      That's what it sounds like to me, too, but if that's what happened then the natural question is raised: why did they scrap backups? One would think they'd keep at least the most recent backup of the old servers around forever.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Likely sequence

        "why did they scrap backups?"

        If your new servers don't have the right sort of drives to read the old media would you keep the media?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Likely sequence

          "If your new servers don't have the right sort of drives to read the old media would you keep the media?"

          Yes, along with the machines capable of reading it, until such time as all of that had been archived in an updated format.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Likely sequence

            "along with the machines capable of reading it"

            You would, I would. (Subject to being overruled by manglement of course.)

            We are not the people running MySpace. If you've scrapped your original server you might have an Exabyte tape or whatever the original medium was but it's no longer a backup. The requirement of a backup is that you can demonstrate that you can restore it. If you don't have the kit to restore it it's demonstrably not a backup.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Likely sequence

              "The requirement of a backup is that you can demonstrate that you can restore it. If you don't have the kit to restore it it's demonstrably not a backup."

              Sure, in principle. However, when you migrate, you do three things: make a backup immediately prior to migration, retain the backup and all equipment necessary to read it for a good long time after the migration, in case a problem is discovered, and keep the backup itself, effectively forever.

              In long-term storage, it's best if you copy the backups onto new media every so often (media degenerates over time, and the nature of media and equipment needed to read it changes over time). Even if you don't refresh, though, it's still advisable to keep the pre-migration backup around. You probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll probably need it very badly. Equipment to read it can be obtained on the used market or fabricated if the need is large enough.

          2. William Towle
            Holmes

            Re: Likely sequence

            > Yes, along with the machines capable of reading it, until such time as all of that had been archived in an updated format.

            ...and possibly until copied, or *at the very least* a sanity test done on the backup?

            Not been there personally, but have read somewhere about arse-bitings happening to people people not going there...

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Likely sequence

          Yes, I absolutely would.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Likely sequence

      Or, more likely, a migration plan failed. There was no alternative, and no budget to come up with another one. Moneybags in charge shrugged their collective shoulders because "nobody looks at old stuff online, they will never miss it anyway". So they scrapped the old kit instead of retaining it "just in case", again to save costs (this time on physical storage, tiny square inches cost big bucks in Beverly Hills).

      If it's important to you, store it for yourself. Multi-national corporations do not give a flying fuck about individual humans and their needs/wants.

    4. VikiAi Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Likely sequence

      Maybe ElReg should look into a 'celebrity' edition of the Who-Me? column!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Likely sequence

        The way things are going it might need to be more than once a week.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Likely sequence

      I see a scenario of a Linux server with case sensitive file names being migrated to a Micro-shaft server, with case insensitive file names, some of which overlap the case sensitive ones, resulting in name collision chaos.

      [saw that with a perforce repo once, $boss insisted on hosting it on a windows box, but it involved a source repo for building a Linux kernel for embedded devices, and some directories in the kernel source had file names that differed only by case... which meant that perforce couldn't save them in a unique way, causing all KINDS of interesting source tree problems - would have been ok if we'd hosted it on Linux in the FIRST place which is what WE wanted to do, but NO, $boss insisted on a WINDOWS server, "felt" it to be more reliable for who knows WHAT kind of reasoning or lack thereof...]

      Anyway, some insight as to what _could_ have happened, maybe like this: 'and then the people doing the migration took some "Dammitol" and, washing them bitter pills down with as much coffee alcohol as they could find, simply announced "cannot be done" and they quietly moved on...'

  8. Gnoitall
    Devil

    The Truth Would Have Served Better

    The PR spin is predictably disingenuous.

    Still, the best defense is a strong offense. They should have been blunt.

    Why, yes. We did "lose" those files. Over a year ago. And you only just now noticed. Obviously, not very important to you, were they?

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      Re: The Truth Would Have Served Better

      That works, except for the fact that people have been shouting about this for at least 8 months, after the files they were told were temporarily unavailable never came back.

  9. elDog Silver badge

    Meridith Corp taking over? They are no friends of any freedoms, sharing.

    They have bought and extinguished lots of brands. When their friends in corporate (political?) high places say it would be swell if all our media material could be made to disappear, magic happens.

    Not that fookbase or goooogle or anyone else can't make YOUR assets disappear. Back up. And then verify you can access your backups on other devices.

  10. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge
    WTF?

    WTF?

    Losing files, hit by malware, open holes in critical systems...as an end user, WTF are many of you “professionals” up to?

    We need a certification process, rigorously enforced, with huge penalties, so that the slackers, and PHBs in your profession, and owners/shareholders finally own quality and are held financially and legally accountable for failures.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Err, are you paying MySpace to host your stuff?

      And even if you were, is that SLA anything but soft, strong and absorbent?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        "Err, are you paying MySpace to host your stuff?"

        No, but someone was being paid to administer that stuff, and they were the ones that fucked up (unless of course it was a corporate decision, that they've decided to blame on a technical fault).

        Sure, it was 'only' MySpace, but one should have enough professional pride not to completely lose that much data even if the users weren't paying.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      "We need a certification process, rigorously enforced, with huge penalties, so that the slackers, and PHBs in your profession, and owners/shareholders finally own quality and are held financially and legally accountable for failures."

      There are a few things to disentangle here.

      1. If MySpace was offering a paid for service there'd likely be contractual terms specifying financial and legal liabilities. It would then be up to their customers to decide whether those would be acceptable for the money being paid. Failure to meet those terms would be breach of contract and normal legal process would be available for redress.

      2. AIUI (I never used the service so I'm relying on other comments here) they didn't offer such a service. The users storing data on it didn't pay so, in accordance with the normal rules here, they weren't the customers, they were the product. It's extremely unlikely that the T&Cs would say anything beyond, in effect, "you get what you pay for".

      3. A consequence of 2 is that the customers were someone else. Again relying on other comments, they were advertisers. Apart from my customary lack of sympathy for online advertisers we have to consider what their contractual entitlements were. If MySpace had contracts to deliver specified amounts of product and this loss reduces what's delivered then they might have some redress. I'd guess, however, it's more a matter of payment by what's actually delivered so simply less product, less money invoiced. The shareholders might be disappointed but the customer wouldn't be being short-changed and they could always take their custom elsewhere in the future.

      4. A consequence of 1 & 2 is that if you want online services of any nature which are of value to you you pay for them. Otherwise you're using somebody else's computer subject to their whims, let alone competence and, paying nothing you're entitled to nothing (but see 5 below).

      5. For some categories of data there should be a duty of care. One is personal and financial user data provided in confidence. Another is any user owned data which is not provided to be shared by others. There is a responsibility not to leak that data. Even if the data is provided to be shared there may be limits on the allowed sharing in which case they should be adhered to. That is an area in which there may be a need for certification, at least in relation to personal and financial data, whether it's the users' own or data about third parties as in the case of Equifax. If the volume times sensitivity exceeds tome limit then there is indeed a case for pro-active enforcement in terms of external inspection or audit.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      "WTF are many of you “professionals” up to?"

      It sounds like you're assuming the problem is the developers and in-the-trenches IT staff. In my experience in this industry, it's far more likely that these sorts of ongoing problems are due to management.

  11. Totally not a Cylon
    Mushroom

    Overworked imperials?

    Nice to see the Deathstar has been kept busy.

    wonder who's next

  12. SNAFUology
    Windows

    servers you right

    only if you don't care about your product should you leave it on a server, without a backup at home.

    USB drives are soooo inexpensive now-a-days.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: servers you right

      You aren't wrong, but USB drives weren't quite as cheap 12 years ago as they are now.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: servers you right

        12 years ago, you could have picked up a Pentium class machine on the side of the road, complete with enough hard drive to store copies of all your personal data indefinitely. Except your pr0n of course, but there is no lack of that on TehIntraWebTubes so no real loss if it goes away.

  13. Rich 10

    What's MySpace?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Windows

      Has anybody under the age of 25 ever used MySpace?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Plenty of people under 25, just none of them are under 25 now.

        Probably no-one born after about '95 has ever used it.

        1. ThadiasVonBasterd

          I was born just after 95, i setup a myspace account and after a couple of hours of fiddling with it i realised that "social media" is a hollow replacment for actually socialising. As i recall i swiftly deleted it then went outside to play cricket in the street with my friends.. sadly mine is probably the last generation to actualy do that, and i'm in the minority for having done so.

          Alien becuase thats how social media makes me feel.

  14. Slarti Bartfast

    I've just checked and my Geocities website is down as well. This is a nightmare.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      "Best viewed at 800x600 with Internet Explorer 6"

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    BOFH at work?

    User: I need another 10GB

    BOFH: Sure thing. I'll just free up some space. Done.

    User:Where have all my files gone?

    BOFH: Well you did ask for another 10GB of storage, didn't you?

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: BOFH at work?

      BOFH: Sure thing. I'll just free up some space. Done.

      You forgot the "clickety tap tap tappity click" bit...

      :)

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: BOFH at work?

      Pretty much like the first ever BOFH, only Simon finished with "If you want more space then move to Texas".... and the luser asked for 4MB...

      For some reason the BOFH archive isn't working properly...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BOFH at work?

        "If you want more space then move to Texas"

        Sun's project to move Solaris from 32- to 64-bit was internally codenamed Project Wyoming, for similar reasons. Least populous state in the union.

      2. Frank Bitterlich

        Re: BOFH at work?

        For some reason the BOFH archive isn't working properly...

        ... is it hosted on MySpace?

  16. Chris G Silver badge

    No worries for FB fans

    The Zucker NEVER throws any of your data away.

    Bits and Bytes my precious!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No worries for FB fans

      That will be 25 cents please.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: No worries for FB fans

        Please?

  17. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Restore authorized copies from originals ... ?

    Sounds like a recording industry group offered them more in cash to lose the files, than the Sat-on-My-Face-All-Night-ers (apologies to Jennifer Saunders) offered to not-lose them. Why is there even the slightest surprise about this story?

    Supplementary question, m'lud: were the uploaded-and-later-lost MP3 files authorized copies by the recording companies?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Restore authorized copies from originals ... ?

      Backups of tunage have been authorized by SCotUS, without specifying any specific method or medium for that backup. The recording industry can go jump. (At least here in the United States.)

  18. Richard Pennington 1
    Unhappy

    The Day the Music Died

    Some date in 2015, I guess.

  19. Toby Poynder

    We reached out to...

    Please don't. Ghastly Americanism.

    You attempted to contact. You asked for a comment.

    1. Sequin

      Re: We reached out to...

      Another ghastly Americanism:

      "have lost all the music uploaded to the site since its founding in 2003 through 2015,"

      Through 2015? Ugh!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We've also reached out to"

    No you effing didn't. You ASKED them or you CONTACTED them.

    Unless you're an out of work HR consultant.h

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We've also reached out to"

      This is the four tops especially requested for you by Karen in HR......

      Now if you feel that you can't go on (can't go on)

      Because all of your hope is gone (all your hope is gone)

      And your life is filled with much confusion (much confusion)

      Until happiness is just an illusion (happiness is just an illusion)

      And your world around is crumbling down, darlin'

      (Reach out) Come on girl reach on out for me

      (Reach out) Reach out for me

      Hah, I'll be there with a love that will shelter you

      I'll be there with a love that will see you through

  21. Aqua Marina

    Lost my arse!

    They’ve done a Faceparty and deleted anything non-profitable. Just waiting for the CEO now to announce “this is a hobby, not a business!!!”

  22. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    I'll just point out...

    If you're using myspace as your backup, you're fucked, no if's and's or but's... I asked my OCD colleague, 20+ years in a band, with music on myspace, "Did you lose anything?" His reply was myspace wasn't my backup repository!

  23. NightFox

    "We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that you retain your back up copies."

    Nice subtle attempt at victim blaming there.

  24. Spudley

    When I shared this news among my colleagues, the reactions were as follows:

    * "MySpace? Who are they?"

    * "MySpace? Are they still around?"

    * "Ha ha!"

  25. MrKrotos

    I know what happend :P

    They migrated to Windows 10 and stored said mp3 files in the my documents area, then Windows update hit :P

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turns out...

    Myspace was just a fancy front-end for Geo-Cities...

  27. Frank Bitterlich

    Currently down

    Hearing that MySpace appears to be still a thing (in the same way that AOL email is still a thing, apparently) I went over there to see what they're doing now, and found that today they're doing...

    ... exactly nothing. "Sorry, we're just experiencing some technical difficulties right now. Nothing major. Our developers are working on it and Myspace will be back up very soon."

    Maybe they found the backup CD-ROMs and are restoring the lost files now?

  28. Aynon Yuser

    Oh well.

  29. John Savard Silver badge

    Dust Gathering

    As a general principle, I am strongly opposed to hosting sites being careless with user data.

    However, in this case, as it took a year for anyone to even notice, I'd have to admit they made the correct business decision.

  30. James Anderson

    15M vistors ....

    I wonder how many were human?

    Do these companies count bots and trolls as visitors?

    If anyone out there even remembered MySpace let alone visited the site please contact the nearest anthropologist now. You are the cyberspace equivilant of the last Mohichan.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now of course

    If Faecebook could "accidentally" delete all luser content ........

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