Facebook Widens Online Music Options
September 1, 2011

Facebook Widens Online Music Options


Do you think everyone spends too much time on Facebook now? Well new features coming soon may give reason for folks to stick around even more.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is looking to increase the amount of time users spend on the site - and music is said to be just one aspect of that strategy. Watching movies through the site could be next, according to Reuters.

The finishing touches to new features on users´ home pages are now being hammered out that integrate music services from partners including Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody, Slacker and Rdio, according to people familiar with the plans.

Jon Fortt, a technology reporter for CNBC, said Wednesday morning on the show “Fast Money Halftime Report” that Facebook would enter the increasingly competitive online music market at F8, the Facebook developers conference, which will be held in San Francisco.

“Next month is going to be a big one for music,” Fortt said. “I´m hearing from someone familiar with the plans that Facebook plans to launch its long-rumored music service at the F8 conference on Sept. 22nd. Now, it seems likely that Facebook won´t actually host the music, but will partner with others who do that,” LA Times reports.

Subscription music plans, although popular, have not gained the traction in the market that music companies would like to see. They primarily offer unlimited listening to millions of new and old tracks on mobile devices for $10 a month, reports the Associated Press, but the record companies are interested to see what Facebook´s 700-plus million user market might bring to their coffers.

Rhapsody, the current largest music subscription service has about 800,000 paying users after nearly 10 years. The next largest in the United States is believed to be Slacker, which claims some 400,000 subscribers. More recent start-ups like MOG and Rdio are estimated to have significantly less than that.

London-based Spotify, recently launched in the United States, has more than 1 million paying subscribers and some 10 million users registered to its free access service across Europe and is believed to have benefited from its early integration into Facebook´s platform.

One primary challenge for these services is learning how to help fans discover new music rather than just search for artists and songs they already know. “Your friends are engaging with you on Facebook, another senior executive close to the talks said. “It´s the new form of radio or TV.”


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