This morning Facebook revived its “Music on Facebook” Page that educates fans, musicians, and industry professionals on how to derive value from the social network. Facebook is posting updates to the Page after a gap in activity since its launch at the 2008 South By Southwest music festival.
The relaunch indicates Facebook’s understanding of the artform’s importance to the site, evident from 44 of the 100 most popular Pages on Facebook being related to music, concerts driving usage of Places and photos, and the music industry spending more on Facebook advertising. It could also foreshadow an upcoming deeper integration with Spotify to improve music sharing, and possibly streaming, through Facebook ahead of the service’s US launch.
Music has been a core part of Facebook since the site started. Many users listed several favorite bands as static interests in their profile. When Facebook transitioned these interests into Likes, musicians gained control of Pages with thousands or million of fans whom they could engage. Now, 6 of the 10 largest Pages belong to musicians, and the top 100 contains several music services, consumption channels and devices including iTunes, MTV, and the iPod.
The value of the Facebook Platform was also proven early by music, with streaming and band profile app iLike becoming one of the most popular on the site reaching 1o million monthly active users before eventually being bought and allowed to stagnate by MySpace. Now, services such as RootMusic’s BandPage (now with over 100,000 bands and 22 million MAU), ReverbNation’s Band Profile, and FanBridge’s DamnTheRadio compete to provide musicians with Page tab applications that help them stream their music and sell concert tickets to fans.
Music’s presence in social games is growing as well, with musicians appearing in prominent games, receiving their own branded games, and music becoming a virtual good to purchase. Despite music being a core way people connect, Facebook has never provided native music streaming tools the way MySpace does, though MP3s can be posted to and played through the news feed.
With the relaunched Page, Facebook is looking to strengthen the connections between fans, musicians, and industry players such as venues and ticketing companies. It pushes fans to Like music-related Pages, write on their walls, tag them in status updates, and RSVP to Facebook Events for concerts. It explains how musicians and venues can promote themselves with Pages, Questions, Places, and ads and provides a walk-through of how musicians can connect their Facebook account with Twitter, which is also a popular fan engagement tool.
The resources will encourage musicians to invest in their Facebook presence, helping to create value for users, increase engagement, and power Facebook ads by generating targetable connections.
Though Facebook hasn’t offered a structured native sharing system specifically for music, there are rumors that a deeper integration with European subscription-based music sharing service Spotify could be in the works. US-based Facebook employees have had access to Spotify accounts for months despite the service not being publicly available stateside, and may be testing how an integration could function. European users and the few abroad with special or unlicensed access have helped Spotify’s Facebook app and desktop software integration that lets users share their playlists reach over 1 million daily active users.
Spotify has been struggling to secure deals with record labels that allow it to launch in the US. Though this speculation was not specifically prompted by the revived Page, if Spotify can reach these deals there the possibility that a partnership with Facebook could give it improved visibility, placement in the publisher, or even native functionality on musician Pages or the user profile. This would help Facebook fend off efforts to control music sharing by Amazon, Google (which has also considered a Spotify partnership), and Apple, keeping the fundamental avenue of sharing on Facebook where it can earn the site money and improve the user experience.