If video killed the radio star, then Facebook certainly gave it a second life. Internet radio and other music streaming services are seeing a massive uptick thanks to integration with the social media giant via its Open Graph platform.
With Facebook changing so fast, and so often, it’s difficult to keep up with what has been around from the start, and what is a recent addition. Timeline integration with apps has only been around for a bit longer than a year, since Open Graph was launched by the company.
And Facebook and music is a match made in heaven. Music is about discovery, consumption and sharing – the very things that Facebook enables so well. Facebook offers the modern-day equivalent of sharing your Walkman’s headphones with a friend to give them a taste of the cool new tunes you’re listening too. And then add into the mix the ability to customise your listening preferences – no longer are we beholden to a radio station’s playlist.
As well as internet radio apps such as Tunein Radio, or music streaming services such as Spotify, Facebook music apps such as BandPage give musicians an opportunity to connect directly with their fans. With piracy, digital rights management and artists’ remuneration being up in the air and open for debate, as well as new and established musicians using the internet to cut out the record labels and go directly to fans, this is likely to be a growing trend too.
According to Facebook, since September 2011 when Open Graph was launched, almost 63 million songs have been played 22 billion times via Facebook timeline apps. Apparently that is 210,000 years of music. Accordign to Facebook’s Lincoln Hochberg: “This is happening across all types of music apps, from those that tailor music to your tastes, to apps that recommend music based on the time of day and what you’re doing.”
Facebook highlights the following music apps as its high flyers:
BandPage , as mentioned, allows musicians to interact directly with their fans by sharing bios, music, videos, photos and performance details. Fans can favourite songs or add events to a wishlist or show that they are attending a performance. Crucially this information gets shared on the fans timelines, spreading the word about new bands to their fans’ friends. BandPage has seen the volume of sharing triple recently, says Facebook.
This social internet radio is focussed around play lists. Listeners can build personalised playlists based on mood, genre or artist. Facebook sees four million shares weekly from the app, creating 65 million story impressions. This has resulted in Facebook becoming one of 8tracks biggest referrers.
Taiwan-based KKBOX app gives people access to more than 1.5 million songs via their iPhone, iPad or Android device, then share what they are listening to with their friends. Karaoke-style, the app includes lyrics. The app is racking up 50 million timeline shares and more than half of new users log in with Facebook.
The India-based mobile and desktop app has gained users in 200+ countries since launch at the end of 2011. These users have generated almost 2.3 billion impressions, referral traffic from Facebook has increased thirty times and monthly music streams have grown by 200%.
This app offers curated playlists that people can choose based on mood or activity. The service is seeing up to one million referrals from Facebook a month. These listeners spend around 20% more time with the service than other users.
Soundhound-style, people can use the web or mobile service to identify music playing around them – perhaps on the radio or in a restaurant or club, and then share the track with their timeline along with a photo, where they are, and a comment. The service is seeing active users up by 50% in the last month.
The music services have a range of pricing structures, from free, to ad-supported, to freemium and subscription. The grand-daddy of music streaming services Spotify has yet to launch in a number of emerging markets, creating a gap for similar services such as Simfy and Opera’s Unlimited Music to steal the march.
Of course people on capped bandwidth plans need to be wary of these data-intensive streaming services guzzling up all their bandwidth. And the inventories of most of the international services tend to more recent, mainstream and Western music.
But it seems that the caution many people show towards Facebook apps doesn’t seem to apply to music apps and that many of us are rocking our Facebook timelines.