Facebook to allow further music integration (Update)

Aug 31, 2011 By RYAN NAKASHIMA , AP Business Writer
Facebook is poised to pipe tunes into the world's largest online social network in an alliance with streaming music services Rdio, MOG, and Spotify, technology blog Mashable said on Wednesday.

Facebook is preparing to bolster the programming tools it offers to licensed music services like Rhapsody, Spotify, MOG and Rdio to make it easier for users of the social network to find out what songs their friends are digging.

The tools won't amount to a unique music service on its own, since Facebook has not negotiated licensing deals with major music companies, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But it will make give Facebook users yet another reason to stick around. Being more aware of what your friends are listening to could make the subscription music plans more attractive. They all offer unlimited listening to millions of new and old tracks on mobile devices for $10 a month, but they have yet to gain enough traction to replace revenue the music industry has lost from declining CD sales.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and declined to be identified.

Facebook is expected to reveal the specific set of tools at its developer conference in San Francisco, called f8, on Sept. 22.

Spokesman Larry Wu said Facebook had nothing new to announce. "Many of the most popular music services around the world are integrated with Facebook and we're constantly talking to our partners about ways to improve these integrations," he said in a statement.

This week, subscription leader Rhapsody launched a beta version of its integration using Facebook's sign-in tool, Facebook Connect. A Rhapsody customer can now "like" an artist or song, and doing so lets others know in the person's Facebook news feed. Liked artists are synced across both services and Rhapsody subscribers can listen to artists that their friends have liked on Facebook.

But there is no way currently to find out exactly what a friend is listening to at a particular moment, nor can a Facebook friend join in and simultaneously listen to what a Rhapsody user is playing in real time.

Rhapsody spokeswoman Jaimee Steele said the company is "definitely interested" in improving its Facebook tools.

"We think that music is a very social experience and we are always looking at ways to enhance that experience," she said.

Swedish new entrant Spotify allows Facebook friends to access the playlists their friends have chosen to share. Rdio allows people to connect through Facebook, follow other Rdio users and find out what albums they have been listening to the most.

Rdio CEO Drew Larner and MOG spokeswoman Marni Greenberg declined to comment.

Facebook's new tools are an incremental step in getting people to pay for music even if Facebook itself does not stand to gain directly.

So far, subscription plans that offer unlimited song listening have not been popular enough to reverse a decade-long slide in CD sales. Piracy is partly to blame for the decline, as is the popularity of buying singles, such as through Apple's iTunes music store, instead of albums.

Last year, revenue from paid subscription plans fell 5 percent from a year earlier to $201 million, even though the number of subscribers grew about 25 percent to 1.5 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Including CD sales, downloads and other forms of music, the value of U.S. music shipments fell 11 percent to $6.85 billion.

The most popular of the subscription services, Rhapsody, has more than 800,000 paying subscribers.

Explore further: Online piracy thrives in Internet cloud: study (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook and Spotify to stream music

May 26, 2011

Facebook and Spotify are collaborating on a streaming music service at the world's largest online social network, according to a report Wednesday by business magazine Forbes.

Facebook shrinks Web page fonts

Nov 04, 2010

Facebook set some users to squinting by shrinking text size on pages of the world's most popular online social networking service.

Spotify says US launch coming 'soon'

Jul 08, 2011

Swedish music streaming service Spotify said Friday it will launch shortly in the United States, where it is not currently available because of copyright issues.

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

Sep 17, 2014

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 0