Sunday, October 2, 2011

5 Features Missing From Facebook Music

music on facebook image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Facebook Music has awaited with almost as much anticipation as Apple's iCloud (which we'll probably see this week). Now that it's finally here and we've got a chance to look at it, it appears there are a few things missing. Here's a piece of a great article from regarding the 5 features missing from Facebook Music. For me, number 4 is the big one. You can read the entire article here.

"1. True music sharing
We're not saying it would be easy, but if Facebook really wants to help people listen to each other's music, it should let them do so using whatever music service they want. True, Facebook has started down the road of universally translating between music services, so that I can hear your songs even if you use Rhapsody and I use MOG -- but so far, it has done so by tilting the playing field favorably (some would say unfairly) towards Spotify.
If Facebook really wants to offer "frictionless" music sharing, to borrow Zuck's oft-repeated phrase, it will let people listen to shared stuff using whatever they want, rather than the same service used by the sharer.

2. Real-time group listening
A Facebook employee deleted a tweet about it, but has confirmed that at least two streaming radio services plan to implement it. Slacker, specifically, says it has been working with Facebook to do so for months. So why didn't Facebook Music launch with the ability to join other listeners on a station in real-time, so that people can chat about what they're hearing a la This will probably be the neatest thing about Facebook Music, and even after yesterday's presentation, it's 100% vaporware.

3. Music tab in the ticker
Facebook is now more cluttered than ever, which, according to hilarious pundit Lore Sjöberg, is because Facebook finds it beneficial to keep its users dissatisfied while offering them a forum where they can express that dissatisfaction -- just like the Democratic Party.
Zuckerberg kept using the word "lightweight" to describe the new Ticker on the right side of Facebook, but accusations of clutter are not without merit. So why not add a music filter? As a music fan, I'm mainly interested in what people are listening to, Ticker-wise. I don't care about who my friends have friended. The Facebook Ticker should offer a way to look only at music activity, and there's no good reason for it not to.

4. Apple
As Matt Rosoff of Business Insider observed, the white elephant not in the room at f8 yesterday was Apple, iTunes, and iCloud. Apple would need to swallow some pride in order to join Facebook's music ecosystem, but maybe it should.
Some argue that Apple only ever sold music in order to sell more iPods and iPhones anyway. Now that it can sell apps for other music services, and run those on its devices, perhaps Apple is no longer concerned about selling music. From a user perspective, it would be nice if iTunes activity were included in Facebook's music activities. scrobbles from iTunes, so why can't Facebook? Maybe this one will happen when Apple takes the wraps off of iCloud later this year.

5. Independent developers
For this one, Facebook's off the hook for the most part -- it just needs to stay out of the way.
One of the neatest things about Rdio and now Spotify is that they let independent app developers build third-party players atop their catalogs. If I subscribe to either service, I can use any music app that taps into it, offering a potentially huge range of interfaces, platforms, designs, features, etc. to choose from -- more than Rdio or Spotify could ever develop on their own.
WIRED: Facebook's gone rogue -- it's time for an open alternative
If someone wants to build a music player that lets people choose what to play by rolling virtual dice, slaying a dragon, wandering through a 3-D library, or whatever, on any platform, I can use that interface to play Rdio's or Spotify's music.
This is already starting to happen -- and unless Facebook somehow gets in the way, all of the music played in these third-party apps should appear on Facebook. In fact, Facebook could even encourage this sort of thing."

 Let's see what happens at Apple's press conference tomorrow. iCloud, anyone?
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