Q&A: Headliner.fm’s Mike More On Facebook And Music

You can't stop the music, and neither can Facebook, as perhaps the most anticipated announcement to come out of Thursday's f8 developers conference involves the social network's potential plans for a music dashboard. As a co-founder of social recommendation service Headliner.fm, Mike More knows a little something about music. More spoke with AllFacebook about his company's expectations for f8.

You can’t stop the music, and neither can Facebook, as perhaps the most anticipated announcement to come out of Thursday’s f8 developers conference involves the social network’s potential plans for a music dashboard.

As a co-founder of social recommendation service Headliner.fm, Mike More knows a little something about music. Headliner.fm allows Facebook and Twitter users to exchange their music recommendations, and more than 110,000 artists are currently using the service.

More spoke with AllFacebook about his company’s expectations for f8, including its announcement of a partnership with cloud music-uploading service SoundCloud, and his thoughts on what Facebook will introduce on the music front.

Does Headliner.fm know whether Facebook is in fact stopping short of launching a full-on music dashboard at f8 (like Forbes.com suggested last week)?

We do not know if it will be a full-on dashboard, but they are definitely integrating music and media into their service in a more substantive way. It looks like it will be great for both artists and music fans.

What’s the current nature of Headliner.fm’s arrangement with Facebook? Does Headliner.fm have anything to announce at f8?

Headliner is one of many applications built on the Facebook platform. We do not have a special agreement with Facebook directly, like Zynga, but we work with their developers closely to optimize the performance of our app. Our goal is to enable artists of all sizes to reach new fans in the newsfeed. We are announcing our new partner agreement with SoundCloud at f8. SoundCloud is the best way for artists to share music in the new feed.

Do you think Facebook needs to quiet the storm over the newsfeed before any kind of music product can be successfully announced or launched?

No, I like the changes to the newsfeed. I think in the short term, most people will really like the newsfeed changes. From what I can tell, my newsfeed is sorting messages by the strength of my relationships, which makes it more useful for me.

Would a music product launch on Facebook suffice by itself to placate users — and even brand managers and members of the media — who are upset about the newsfeed?

I predict that they will make music easier to discover and share, and this will be great for music fans and artists. Do brands belong in my newsfeed? Music is not a brand. It’s a work of art, like a movie, TV show, food, book, or fashion. If brands want to be in the feed, they should think about Facebook users first. I think their message should only show up if it is recommended by a friend, artist, or trusted source.

Does the current version of the newsfeed work against music advertising, or does music have a strong enough affinity with friendships to override what some other brand managers might be experiencing (i.e., that users prefer to see content from their friends, to the detriment of brands trying to get visibility in the new feed)?

The new newsfeed will be good for artists. It will help them communicate with their fans better. The newsfeed has to be about content from friends — this is a much better user experience. The only way messages should be included in the feed is if they are real recommendations from friends, artists, or a trusted source.

Or does the newsfeed change make it more imperative than ever for music advertisers to work with an outfit like Headliner.fm?

Absolutely. The changes in the newsfeed will be very good for Headliner.fm, music fans, artists, and Facebook. We do not think of our platform as an advertising product. We see it as a social recommendation platform. Ads for artists and most brands are not as strong as social recommendations. The messages on Headliner.fm are endorsed, approved, and then posted by the artists directly. One of our main goals is to help artists, managers, and labels reach the most relevant audience through authentic communication.

What advice does Headliner.fm have for entertainment brands looking to boost their visibility on Facebook?

Speak to your audience with love and respect. You can’t fake the funk. We understand the need that entertainment brands have to reach a wide audience, but it cannot be at the expense of authenticity. Quality will help you gain visibly more than anything else. One of the cool things about Headliner.fm is that we are about artists recommending one another to their fans in the newsfeed, and recommendations are high-quality — in other words, they lead to quality messaging.

Is there anything else you want AllFacebook readers to know about?

Headliner.fm reaches about 15 million music fans every day on Facebook, and we are growing at a nice rate. We get a ton of requests from Facebook users who are not artists that want to use Headliner. We are listening to this feedback and opening up our platform for application developers, small businesses, Etsy users, and others who can gain visibility on Facebook through social recommendations. We are stoked that we can help so many Facebook users, and we want to share the love.