June 30, 2011— -- It's apparently not enough for Justin Timberlake to play an Internet mogul on the big screen. The singer-turned-actor has become one in real life, as one of the new owners of Myspace.
Timberlake, who starred as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in last summer's "The Social Network," joined with Specific Media, a small ad-targeting firm, to purchase Myspace for $35 million from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which purchased the social network site six years ago for $580 million. The deal closed Wednesday.
Timberlake, 30, invested an undisclosed amount in the company.
"There's a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect," Timberlake, an Emmy and Grammy winning artist, said in a statement Wednesday. "MySpace has the potential to be that place."
Although Myspace's popularity has nosedived in recent years, it remained the preferred social network for musicians to share their output.
"When we met with Justin and we discussed what our strategy was, we hit a chord with him," Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook told the Associated Press Wednesday. "One of his passions is he really enjoys helping other artists and creating a community for people to really express themselves. I think we were blown away that we were able to get someone like Justin to be so excited about what we were doing."
Vanderhook said the "Sexxyback" singer will have an office at Myspace's Beverly Hills headquarters and a staff of about a half dozen people working for him "around the clock," developing his ideas for the site.
The partners will unveil specific plans for reviving the flagging site in a couple of months, but the main impetus, Vanderhook said, is to "rebuild and reinvigorate" Myspace by making it a place to consume media and meet celebrities.
Timberlake's involvement is a clear sign that Myspace will try to reconnect with its musical roots.
In recent years, the 30-year-old singer -- who started performing on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1993, along with a fellow pop icon and future girlfriend, Britney Spears -- has strayed from those roots and grown into a modern day Renaissance man, the kind of guy who's hard to find in celebrity-dom these days.
Yes, he still sings; he has won six Grammys and sold more than 14 million albums. He also dabbles in comedy, performing uber-popular "Saturday Night Live" skits about wanting to do wanton things with maternal figures and presenting a key part of his body in an unconventional package. ("Motherlover," "D**k in a Box"). Then there's his clothing line, William Rast, and fledgling restaurants, Southern Hospitality and Destino.
Following his roles in 2006's "Alpha Dog" and "Black Snake Moan" and a handful of other appearances, Timberlake crossed over to big time acting, playing Parker in "Social Network," the popular movie about the founding of Facebook.
Regardless of his own reservations, Timberlake's colleagues in the music industry belted out his praises.
"He's super-talented, he's funny, he's great to be around," said Andrew Coleman, a producer who works with N.E.R.D. front man Pharrell Williams and recorded the majority of Timberlake's first album, "Justified."
"Obviously, he knows what he's doing. It's a pleasure working with him. There's a reason he's as popular as he is. He's got it all and it shows in his work.
"It's in his blood," Coleman said about Timberlake and music. "I think acting is a great vehicle for him but from how I know him, music's always in his blood."