After teasing a heavy dose of discovery and social features, Spotify is gradually rolling out its ‘Follow’ tab to users on the desktop.
We first revealed these upcoming features back in December, and now Spotify has informed us that its follow tab is already available to some, and will roll out in stages. For now, there’s still no sign of the discover tab — the other half of the company’s big announcement back in December.
As we’ve previously detailed, Spotify’s People tab will be replaced by the new Follow tab, which features basic profile details and recommendations. As far as Facebook is concerned, Spotify’s integration had previously been limited to the right sidebar, but now it’s easier than ever to connect with Facebook friends and follow them separately on Spotify.
“Separately” is key — Spotify doesn’t seem to plan on riding Facebook’s coattails forever. Facebook independence is particularly important for Spotify, as relying solely on Facebook has recently proven to be a terrible idea.
Back to the news, here’s what users will now start seeing (via our earlier look):
Here’s what Spotify’s People tab previously showed for us. Yes, it was useless:
Back to the Follow tab, as shown in the top screenshot: My Facebook friends using Spotify have been highlighted randomly, and below it, Spotify has recommended musicians as well. The service also decided to auto-follow musicians I have starred.
Here’s what my profile looks like now, followed by the original design for comparison’s sake.
Note the addition of Recent Activity and follower counts.
Friends and musicians are now integrated together and may be able to interact with each other, recreating a bit of Myspace’s old magic from its prime. Here’s what the musician profiles look like:
The above artist, Kendrick Lamar, was recommended to me in the right sidebar and features a verified check mark similar to what you’d find on Twitter. For most other artists, that mark wasn’t yet present.
As for Spotify’s Discover tab, you can take a peek at what we’ve learned so far here. Today’s release follows news of Spotify’s updated iOS app.
Source: The Next Web (by Harrison Weber)
Earlier this week, social music service Soundrop announced that it has launched listening rooms on Facebook, which means that artists — and fans — can create social music spaces where they can listen to music together, chat, and vote on what they want to hear next.
A Soundrop room on Facebook is a page running the app, which streams music and video from YouTube or Vevo at the top, provides for comments and chatting under the video, and features a social playlist with songs that people can upvote, promoting them to earlier spots.
It sometimes seems as if a million startups focused on music and social, but I like this one. Soundrop streamed more than 500 million tracks last year as an app on Spotify, so it’s not exactly unknown and untested, and the app seems simple, fun, and useful. Soundrop rooms on Facebook are the exact same as on Spotify: Comments, votes, and songs playing are synced on both platforms.
Soundrop is focused on the needs of artists, saying “We help artists and labels accelerate their traffic and engagement” on its partners page. That’s smart, because as MySpace discovered an Internet age ago, fans follow where bands lead.
CEO Inge Andre Sandvik referenced that in a statement, while also acknowledging Facebook’s status as the world’s leading social network. “We’re excited to make Soundrop available in the main place where artists connect with their fans,” he said.
The company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, but has offices in New York, L.A., and London. You can try the app at multiple musicians’ Facebook pages, including Matisyahu, Delphic, or Owl City. Or, continuing the Scandinavian theme, even ABBA.
Source: Venture Beat (by John Koetsier)
by Eliot Van Buskirk
Facebook already lets you see what people listen to in Facebook-connected music apps, check out which bands they like, and even unfriend them for liking the wrong band.
On Tuesday, at its big Apple-style press event in Menlo Park, California, Facebook took that concept to the next level by allowing you to see what music people who like something else like. As an example, you’ll be able to find out what music people who like Tabasco and live in your hometown have Liked.
Facebook director of product management Tom Stocky took the stage at today’s event to demonstrate a new Extended Search function, which will appear as a larger blue-backed search bar at the top of the page, using political figures as an example.
“Let’s do music liked by people who like Mitt Romney: Johnny Cash, Metallica, Pink Floyd” said Stocky. “Okay, so let’s do music liked by people who like Obama. Okay, they have the Beatles in common.”
Facebook Graph Search can also search for dentists who your friends have Liked on Facebook, television shows . But since connections have been empirically proven between music and politics, Stocky’s example seems to be quite apt.
You’ll be able to aim this new search function at all of public Facebook, just your friends, friends of friends, people in a certain place, and possibly using other factors, which could provide a way for fans of obscure bands to find each other in small towns, among other things.
Facebook Graph Search — and with it, the ability to see what music people who like a hair salon, a band, or anything else on Facebook also like — will roll out to all Facebook users “very slowly” starting today, according to Mark Zuckerberg, who added that “It’s going to take years and years to index the whole Graph,” but that “we want to index all of the posts, and all of the content on Facebook.”
For now, it’s clear that people’s Facebook Likes are not a perfect reflection of their likes — in part because most people don’t spend all day cataloging their every predilection on the social network, and in part because of stuff like this. Facebook Graph Search could give them a new reason to do so, because do you really want your friends’s searches for “my friends who like the show Girls” to come up without your name, when they know you simply love it? Maybe not — and suddenly, you have a new reason to consider Liking things on Facebook: to make it official.
That’s all we know about Facebook Graph Search’s music implications for now. Expect more as the new feature rolls out (update: how it was made). Facebook also posted this Sigur Ros-backed video to explain the new feature:
By Eliot Van Buskirk
In 2012, much of the world became accustomed to seeing what our friends were listening to on Facebook. It was the year when millions of us stopped listening to digital music alone quite so much, and began tuning in together, whether at the same time or asynchronously.
It’s easy to poke fun at the way this feature also lets you see music youdon’t want to listen to. (“Great. Now I know that half my friends listen to music I can’t stand.”) But it has been an exciting trend since 2011; includes a lot more than just Facebook; and is far from over.
When you use your Facebook credentials to log into a music app, it’s not easier for you, but it also lets Facebook hook into what you’re listening to, and that is a large part of how the world’s largest social network, with over a billion users as of September — that’s about one seventh of the known humans in the universe — was able to pull this off.
To find out what Facebook thinks about what it has done for music — and what music has done for it — we spoke with Facebook manager of strategic partnerships Ime Archibong as 2012 came to a close.
Eliot Van Buskirk, Evolver.fm: Obviously, this was a big year for Facebook and music. What did you guys notice along the way, generally speaking?
Ime Archibong, Facebook manager of strategic partnerships: It’s been a great year for Facebook and music — our first intersection with this space. Even going back to the panel that we sat on together, it was all about getting things wired up, right? Getting the foundation into place and working with the Spotifys, iHeartRadios, Deezers, and all the big names out there; making sure that users and folks that love music have an optimized experience and a way to share that with their friends, and have that conversation about music; and we’ve gotten good traction, both in the developer ecosystem and with users.
2012 was about setting the foundation, getting the right people on board, and putting the pipes in place. I would say that in 2013, some of the stuff I’m most excited about is what you can do once you have everything connected: really leaning into and solve the problem of discovery and what people are going to be listening to next, and making sure that they can get that social signal in a way that is meaningful, exciting, and engaging.
Last week, I was at my sister’s wedding in Nigeria, which was fantastic. One of the nights after the wedding, I was sitting around the table with some cousins who were all in the same age range, and although we don’t know each other intimately, the conversation quickly evolved to some of the universal topics that people can discuss — music, of course, being a rich one. What are you listening to right now — what artists and what types of music? We talked about that literally for hours, and since coming back to the states, that conversation has continued on Facebook as well. They were able to, after I pointed them in the right direction, go to my [Facebook] Timeline and check out the music that I listened to over the course of the last year. They can also see what I’m listening to on the Spotifys, Songzas, and MOGs, and chime in when they see those stories on their news feed. For me, it was a validation of the online experience that we worked so hard to put together last year.
Evolver.fm: There are a few ways that Facebook connects people with music — this “connective tissue” that at first we were looking forward to, and now we’ve seen it how it works. Which parts seem to be the strongest? There’s the news feed, the real-time activity ticker, the music tab, and people actively embedding stuff. What are people using the most, or how are they using them differently?
Archibong: It’s no mystery that the news feed [in] the Facebook homepage is one of the most-visited places around the internet at this point, so the stories and conversation that happens off of the music we’re surfacing in the news feed has been fantastic.
We’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about people’s identity on Facebook… with the launch of Timeline. [If you’re my friend], you can see a quick snapshot of what I’ve listened to, broken down by month, by service, by listening type — album, musician, song or playlists. Those are two big [aspects] that performed well in 2012.
In 2013, I’m excited about the idea of identity being fully flushed out — being able to go to the music part of my Timeline and getting an even more rich experience on that side of things.
The other part, which has been little talked about but has improved over the last month, is the music dashboard. It’s essentially the news feed but just cut for music. It used to be a chronological list of what you listened to, but if you go to it today, you’ll see some of the moves that the team that is thinking pretty hard about this stuff is making.
How do we really unlock discovery? It’s not just Ime’s consumption, but it’s also the pages that you may have liked around Facebook. If Ime has said explicitly that he likes Rihanna, we should give him the Rihanna status updates in that space. If Ime is friends with Jillian, maybe it makes sense for us to show that music content there too, because that’s just another signal to help unlock, hopefully, this problem of discovery that we’re trying to help solve.
Evolver.fm: One observation I had made over the year was that people weren’t always in favor of the social news feature. “I read about Kim Kardashian’s outrageous bathing suit at 10:30am on a work day” seems different from “I listened to this.” Not everything performs the same way on Facebook. Did you notice anything interesting about music versus other hooked-in activities?
Archibong: I think your observation is fair. One thing we do at Facebook when we launch products is we launch and we listen. We listen very carefully to our users. Music, like you say, has been pretty successful, and you’re a music-head, so you understand the concept of what Last.fm has been doing for years. If you’ve been an avid Facebook user too, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of friends over the last seven or eight years saying “check out this new track,” and they’ll drop a link there, or “what music should I be listening to?” in their status update.
Having conversations about music is not new or novel to the Facebook experience. If anything, the Open Graph took it to the next level and elevated the experience — and we’ve seen that in the adoption, the developer excitement, and the industry excitement over the course of the year.
Evolver.fm: How does YouTube fit into this? I feel like before this Facebook music initiative, YouTube used to be how you did music on Facebook. Is that considered part of this whole scene, or are the Spotifys, Deezers, and Songzas overtaking YouTube? Is that something that’s being talked about?
Archibong: It’s not something that’s being talked about, and I wouldn’t be the person to talk to about YouTube’s usage vs. Spotify and so forth, but I think you’re right. One of the things we see, of course, is those links that people were pasting to have conversations around music — a lot of them were YouTube and Vevo links. And Vevo was actually one of the partners who said, “Hey, the music video use case is super compelling, and is a great volume today — let’s make sure that we’ve optimized our [Facebook] Open Graph integration so that we have a great experience within Facebook, and once they come to Vevo.com they are able to share that content more easily with their friends.”
Evolver.fm: It’s great to be introduced to the music that your friends are into, but it could also be interesting to flip the thing around. When you already have music in common with somebody, either that you could maybe see their updates about music more if you know them, or even straight-up be introduced to them if you don’t. Are those priorities in 2013?
Archibong: Facebook has always been about your friends, so our thinking is typically taking that lens and trying to figure out the different signals you can extract from your friends. But the use case you describe is interesting. The way we’re trying to solve that right now is exactly what we’ve done with the music dashboard over the past couple of months, and continuing to push the boundaries of that page and that real estate, which is “Don’t just show me what my friends are listening to, but show me what Rihanna is posting right now and everything that people are commenting there; show me Special K, or whomever some random band is that I’ve liked, or that my friend is talking about in their status update.”
Evolver.fm: On a high level what has Facebook done for music in 2012, and what has music done for Facebook?
Archibong: Since Facebook existed, people have had conversations about music there. We know we can’t go and do everything. In order for us to be successful, our users are having the experiences; they’re having conversations with their friends about relevant topics — in this case, music; they’re filling out their identity online in a holistic way — in this case, through music. We’re going to need to partner with folks to do that — folks that are excited about the future of social and music.
We worked with the big names, the Spotifys and iHeart Radios of the world, but another interesting trend was the Songzas of the world. When we first started talking to those folks, they understood what social was, and they were using a lot of the stuff that the Facebook platform had to offer without even having had a conversation with the Facebook team. Leaning into folks like that and seeing the success they had over the year — we’re super excited about that and where they’re going with social integration.
To answer your point directly, about what music did for Facebook over the last year: It made the experience, conversation, and engagement that is happening inside of Facebook better, more exciting, and more compelling for our users in a way that we couldn’t have done alone.
The flipside of that — what Facebook has done for the music industry: We talked about the plumbing, and what we were able to do [there]. One of the high-level goals that we have in the platform team is to be a meaningful distribution platform for our partners. I think that has been achieved, without a doubt, and all you have to do is look at the list of our partners and the growth they have talked about publicly, and the traffic they are getting from Facebook to grasp the meaningful impact that I think we’ve had for some of these developers…
Archibong: Exactly. For you and I, and other folks in the industry, the growth is great, the consumption is going to be great, but some of the meaningful metrics that get me most excited are when, for example, [Spotify CEO] Daniek Ek gets up on stage and says that a Facebook Connected user is twice as likely to pay for music as a non-socially-connected user. That is meaningful for the industry. And when I go talk to the Earbit team down in San Diego, and they tell me about the integration and what it’s done in terms of bringing an audience to independent artists — that gets me excited, because that’s touching those independent musicians directly. When Elias [Roman] over at Songza tells me that a socially-connected user is listening to 20 percent more music than a non-socially-connected user, that gets me excited too.
We’re talking about meaningful metrics not only to these companies, but also to the industry more broadly. We’re talking about more catalog consumption [i.e. more attention to so-called “deep cuts” that don’t get radio airplay]. We’re talking about paying users, and touching the real economics of the industry. That’s where the real power lies.
Evolver.fm: In terms of the economics, Facebook is doing a lot in terms of exposing its users to these services, and these services are really grateful. Is Facebook just happy to be in the position of integrating all this stuff, or does that turn into a commercial type of thing? I mean, you’re putting company after company on the map, doubling their users, and so on. I can see there being the temptation to say, “Okay, you get your first hundred thousand users for free, and then it’s going to cost you.”
Archibong: I can’t get into the details, but at the highest levels, what’s good for our users tends to be good for us, so that’s where we see the majority of our value and it tends to be our focus right now. If anything, I would say one of the things we’re excited about is that we continue to be a meaningful platform for distribution for these partners on desktops, and as we move to a “mobile first” world, for lack of a better word — I think everybody’s talking about that now — that we continue to be a meaningful distribution platform for these folks.
Evolver.fm: I think that’s going to be a big thing in 2013. Spotify has apps, and they only run on the desktop, but it seems like it’s getting to a “Russian doll” scenario on mobile, where people love the apps that exist inside of things, but there’s only so much screen. It’s going to be interesting to see how that all happens.
Archibong: The real estate on mobile makes a lot of the UI element, and the beauty that social can bring to these apps and these experiences, difficult. I think the user experience is going to be what ends up winning out. I think about mobile apps like Soundtracking that are doing a great job with helping you capture a moment. Back to my sister’s wedding — when she got up there and was dancing with my dad, she started crying, and I thought, “This is a beautiful moment. Not only do I want to capture this picture, but I want to add my message to it, and I also want to add the song they were playing for their father-daughter dance.” Apps like Soundtracking let me do that, and capture that, add [the photo, song, and message] to Facebook, and share it with the friends and family members that weren’t able to make it to Nigeria as well. It’s really the user experience that’s going to be interesting and unlocked on the mobile side of things.
NEWS: Music Sharing Updates on the Horizon?
App Spotlight: Label Store Widget
Check out how labels can present their whole catalog with our embeddable widget with scrolling ability. This example features Fat Possum’s catalog which includes big names like Andrew Bird, Tennis, 2:54, Wavves, Dinosaur Jr. and The Walkmen. It provides yet another way labels can present and sell their music in a one-stop shopping manner.
Why Social Media Needs the Music Industry
The music industry has become increasingly reliant on the social media. Twitter, Facebook and other services such as YouTube with a strong social element have frequently overtaken the press, television and radio as the primary means of promotion
What is perhaps less often reported is how dependent social networks are on music fans for growth. It is not politicians, sports, television or movie stars who dominate the social media leader boards, but representatives of the recording industry. Music and social media just seem to go together.
For instance, 50% of Twitter users follow at least one musician. The top five most followed accounts on Twitter are all musicians. In fact there are only two people in the current top ten most-followed Twitter accounts who are not musicians, one is President Barack Obama, and this is election year, the other is the reality star Kim Kardashian. And the top five trends of last year were all music-related, according to Tatiana Simonian, head of music industry relations for Twitter.
Ms. Simonian was brought from Disney Music Group to the micro-blogging social network last October at about the same time as it launched Twitter music. “It now has more followers than almost any other channel on Twitter,” she said “The media team I’m on is there just to get more dynamic content on Twitter.”
She was talking at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, Spain, last week, an industry event where social media now dominate the business sessions. Their representatives are every bit as keen to address the recording industry as the music business is to listen,
In the fragmented world of music, the summit is the primary industry event for electronic dance music. Recently that has become shortened to “EDM” perhaps, Ms. Simonian suggested, as a result of Twitter users’ need to abbreviate. “The hashtag EDM is now used up to 3,000 times a day,” she said. “It is the fastest growing genre on Twitter.”
It is a segment, however, which has been focused almost entirely on Europe until the last couple of years. Now it is enjoying a surge of popularity in the U.S. The industry’s poster boy for this success is producer and DJ David Guetta.
His main fan page on Facebook is approaching 33m Likes. This puts him just outside the top 10 of this chart, which is almost as dominated by musicians as Twitter’s. But it is not simply the figure for the number of fans who have clicked on a button which impresses his industry, it is what he has done with it. He has developed a series of brand partnerships notably with Coca-Cola’s Burn energy drink and car manufacturer Renault from his native France.
By monetizing his personal brand, quantifiable thanks to social networks, he is showing how a new business model works successfully for the music industry, although there are plenty who dislike his overt commercialism. The point is he is making money after the probably permanent destruction of the industry’s traditional business model.
For decades that model was quite straightforward. Sell records. Everything else was subservient to that goal. Touring, merchandising, radio airplay and everything else could make a loss provided they led to sufficient sales of vinyl and later CDs.
The rise of digital media and file sharing has drastically reduced the importance of recorded music sales to the industry. As a result, what were ancillary activities before are now potentially the most important revenue streams.
Merchandising has moved way beyond the sale of tour t-shirts and now encompasses complete clothing ranges, designer headphones and, in fact, anything that can have a logo put on it. And recorded music frequently exists to promote live performances rather than, as used to be, the other way round.
This explains why another less obvious social network was making an appearance at the International Music Summit. Location-based Foursquare made clear how important music audience was to it about six months ago when it signed a deal with London-based live music listing service Songkick.
Omid Ashtari, Foursquare’s director for business development, explained that, before it got access to Songkick’s database, it was only possible to check into a venue. Given that a different promoter might take over the place each night, that is not an attractive proposition for either artists or fans.
“Now through Foursquare you can not only check into the location, but also into the event,” he said.
“Artists can offer rewards vouchers, perhaps providing discounts on merchandise, ticket upgrades or meet-and-greets. They can also offer ‘swarm specials’ which means you define a threshold and if more than that many people check in, you can do something like a double encore.”
And, of course, these activities provide a foundation for Foursquare’s growth. “I think there’s a an overlap between electronic music and social media savvy people,” he said. (via WSJ)
New look to our Timeline. Definitely feels better.