It has been rumoured for a long time that Facebook and Spotify were planning an integrated music service that would extend beyond the current facility in Spotify where, using Facebook Connect, users can connect to friends on Facebook and share playlists and songs from the Spotify music library.
The project has been dubbed Facebook Music and news about the service is expected to be given at the forthcoming Facebook Developer Conference in August, the “f8”.
Forbes described notable functions of the service on their blog in May. Users in countries where Spotify have secured licenses with the record industry should eventually see a Spotify icon along with the apps on the left hand side of the news feeds. Clicking the icon would install the Spotify application on the desktop in the bakcground, and allowing users to share music and see what others are playing from within their Facebook profiles – even in real time.
The news may not come as huge surprise given the tight bonds between Facebook and Spotify. Facebook backer Digital Sky Technologies since quite recently funds Spotify as well, and the two share a bundle of other investors. Facebook’s founding president and Napster founder Sean Parker also sits on the board of Spotify.
Spotify has been struggling to move into the US market, but have now secured agreements with most of the major rights holders. The integration with Facebook should significantly boost its chance of picking up more paid-for subscribers.
But will Spotify power Facebook Music alone?
Most likely, Facebook will not place their money on one horse alone. Facebook’s musical ambitions go beyond Spotify and include other music services and applications. As Facebook will be wanting to capitalize on the social facets of music – we love to share and talk about music – they cannot rely on one provider that can only provide content to users in countries were they have obtained rights. With nearly 700 million users worldwide, Facebook will be wanting to reach out to as wide an audience as possible with their music offering. The popular business technology blog GigaOM reported Facebook also have been negotiating with online radio Pandora, the social audio hub SoundCloud, turntable.fm (invite only) and iTunes to create the social music service dubbed Facebook Music. GigaOM also talks of a Music Dashboard where you can share music, see what others are listening to and and listening rooms where users can chat about the music being streamed this very instant.
Facebook is obviously planning to become your internet media hub. So far users have shared links, photos and videos on Facebook, but there is obviously a gap in the music offering. All eyes will be on the f8 in August – will Spotify launch in the US before that?