Facebook pages for artists now include ‘listen’ button

By Brittany Darwell Comment

Facebook has implemented a “listen” button on artists’ fan pages that lets users instantly stream songs from an artist’s catalog.

The button, which sits between options to Like and message the page below an artist’s cover photo, plays music using whichever Facebook-connected streaming service a person uses most frequently. Users can play and pause a song with the button, but they have to visit the streaming service to skip to the next song or fast forward through a track.

The feature will help users sample music when they visit an artist page for the first time and could help make Facebook a go-to option for people looking for new music, similar to how many people used MySpace in its heyday. Streaming services will benefit from the traffic and artists will appreciate Facebook linking to legally licensed versions of their work. Page tab application companies like ReverbNation and BandPage could suffer, since one of the key features they offer is music players for artists’ Facebook pages. Some artists, who don’t offer their music through subscription streaming services or who haven’t been able to connect their streaming catalog to their Facebook page, will not have a listen button so they might still turn to third-party developers.

Facebook’s new listen button isn’t the only way users can play music instantly from the site. News Feed stories about friends’ listening activity includes an option to play songs, as do search results, the music dashboard and Timeline summaries. These integrations could help Facebook become a media destination site.

Currently, most users visit the site to see what friends are saying or to share something about themselves. They often discover news, photos, videos and music in the process, but they don’t tend to think of going to Facebook for learning about a particular topic. As users discover features like the listen button, they might be more likely to utilize the social network as a media hub or even a search engine.

Facebook did not provide information about how artists who do not have the listen button on their site could have one implemented.