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Facebook and Spotify drop the other shoe

By Christopher Breen
September 26, 2011 05:31 PM ET

Macworld - Recently, Facebook announced a new music service that incorporates streaming music services with such partners as Spotify, Rhapsody, Mog, Rdio, iHeartRadio, and Slacker. The idea is that when Facebook members listen to music from one of these services, they can elect to share a constantly updating playlist of tracks they're playing. Those "friends" who have access to the same music service can then also play this music simply by clicking on a link to the track.

I commented on what this might mean in "Facebook and the Future of Music". One vital piece of information missing at the time was that, in at least one case we now know of, Facebook membership is a requirement to belong to the service. That service is Spotify.

According to a Spotify representative: "New accounts require Facebook to log in and this is a worldwide initiative. To us, this is all about creating an amazing new world of music discovery. To make this as good and simple as it possibly can be, we've integrated Spotify login with Facebook login. By adopting Facebook's login, we've created a simple and seamless social experience. Once a user is logged in they can control what to share to each of their networks from the preferences menu in Spotify."

I've checked in with some of the other music services, and both Mog and Rhapsody tell me that while they're participating in Facebook's music service, they are not exclusive to it. You can have a Mog or Rhapsody account without also having a Facebook account. Each of these services additionally offer its own social networking service.

Putting aside the issue of whether this really is about "creating an amazing new world of music discovery" or the more likely matter of Spotify increasing its revenue thanks to better placement and a piece of the action, it very definitely puts Facebook in an important place in the music business. It's now a significant music distributor and in the position to make demands of music companies as well as promote particular labels, artists, and publishers to millions of Facebook users.

Yes, I have Facebook issues

I'm not a fan of Facebook--I dropped my Facebook account more than a year ago thanks to what I considered the company's pernicious privacy policies. So you're forgiven for swallowing a grain of salt prior to believing, like me, that this isn't a particularly good thing.

There's a succinct phrase floating around the Internet that goes, "If you're not paying for it, you're the product." This is how Google, Facebook, and other such services operate. You're offered these services not because of the philanthropic tendencies of these companies but rather because you have something of value that they want--your personal information. This information gets churned with the information of countless other individuals and sold to advertisers, who use it to find ways to more efficiently market their stuff. This includes targeting individuals for particular products.

Originally published on Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2012 Mac Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
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