IT HELPED propel the Arctic Monkeys to stardom and gave a platform to the growing interest in Lily Allen.
And the decision by website MySpace to provide a virtual stage for scores of up-and- coming musicians was yesterday credited with helping the online giant sign up more than ten million users in the UK, making it the country's most popular networking service.
MySpace now has 10.2 million "unique users" - individuals who log on - every month, a more-than-double increase on its UK audience from last year.
That growth puts it in front of networking rivals such as Bebo, with 9.3 million users, and Facebook, with 4.8 million users.
Networking websites offer users the ability to contact each other, form networks of friends by interest or geography, co- ordinate diaries, share photos and, in some cases, swap videos.
MySpace has established a lead as not only a venue for fledgling bands and a virtual mouthpiece for established big acts, but also a place where marketers can promote causes likely to appeal to the young.
The website's top three spots among UK surfers are Red, the campaign to buy ethical goods to help HIV sufferers in Africa backed by stars including U2's Bono; Damon Albarn's computerised band Gorillaz and Welsh heavy rock group Bullet For My Valentine.
A page dedicated to finding the missing toddler Madeleine McCann has more than 300,000 "friends" since it was established after her disappearance on 3 May.
Michael Parsons, site director of Cnet, a technology news site, said: "MySpace does music very well.
"When you go to see events involving new bands, they will all have a page on it. We are seeing a mini-boom in networking online."
The huge numbers logging on have also drawn large amounts of money from those wishing to cash in.
MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp for 294 million two years ago.
While MySpace is popular among late teens and 20-somethings, Bebo has established a niche with schoolchildren. Facebook, by contrast, is gaining an audience among older professionals who find its more spartan "contact book" style easier to use.
However, social networking can throw up unexpected side issues. Some companies, particularly in the City of London, are known to search networking sites for the names of job applicants and take a dim view when potential employees post drunken pictures of themselves accompanied by lurid descriptions of their social lives.
John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: "There are going to be court cases at some point, presumably when some fairly embarrassing or even harmful stories or pictures are posted.
"It's a complicated legal area, with arguments over where you consider the offence to be committed."
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