The rumor mill is in overdrive with the suggestion that Facebook might have done a deal with European music streaming service Spotify. Why would they do that?
Facebook is the undisputed winner of social networking. The more people who spend a lot of time on Facebook, the more money there is to be made.
Music is an excellent way of doing that. Once someone is listening to a playlist or an album (albums – remember those?), chances are good they’re going to stick around for a while. As the music plays in the background, they might play a few games, buy some stuff, chat with their pals. You know, Facebooky stuff.
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Spotify, meanwhile, would benefit from a huge boost in user numbers. Teaming up with Facebook would effectively mean launching in the U.S., without actually launching in the U.S.
Spotify’s problem so far has been convincing the record companies that it is big enough, and a serious enough player to compete with the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, all of whom have or are planning online streaming services of their own.
But with its arm draped casually over Facebook’s shoulders, that won’t be a problem any more.
“No problem guys,” Spotify can say now. “We’re with him,” pointing to Mark Zuckerberg.
What this doesn’t mean is that we’ll see unlimited free music for Facebook users. Spotify costs money, one way or another – either you listen to frequent adverts, or you pay up to ditch them. Even if you’re listening via Facebook instead of Spotify’s own client software, you won’t get a free ride.
Spotify’s great advantage is its huge catalogue, which covers the mainstream very well but reaches far into the depths of all manner of obscure musical niches. And they’re adding more songs all the time.
There’s also the question of Spotify’s own expansion. So far it’s been all about streaming music, but there’s nothing to say it has to stick with that. What if Spotify started streaming TV shows? And movies?
There’s so much money yet to be made, and both parties want a slice of it. Spotify has the catalogue and the streaming tech; Facebook has the reach and the clout. Sounds like the perfect match.
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