Then on Sunday, word got out that Facebook was teaming up with U.K.-based music service Spotify, a free listening platform that boasts over 13 million tracks. The move demonstrates the social network’s aim to be the web’s central hub for user-everything—with instant messaging, famously addictive games and now, listening to music.
According to GigaOM, Facebook will integrate a new Music Dashboard into its interface. In addition to listening to songs, you’ll be able to recommend tracks to your friends, post top 10 lists and essentially do everything Ping aimed to do, but couldn’t because it failed to gain traction.
The team-up will address a lot of the issues that have riddled other social networks built around music. Licensing? Check. An interface people will know how to use? Double check. An endemic audience, thanks in no small part to Facebook’s 600 million users? Check, check and check.
Niche music listening services like Hype Machine and Soundcloud (and now the brilliant Turntable.fm) are able to succeed because they do something critical to any viable business: They know who their audience is while giving them the functionality to do what they want.
Facebook, on the other hand, sees their potential audience as everyone in the world.
Yes, sharing music is a social experience – there’s nothing more powerful than a friend’s recommendation – but it’s something few have been able to do well digitally, especially when the end-goal demands that the record labels get their cut.
Facebook teaming with Spotify could very well be the intuitive music service we’ve all been waiting for. Or, it could very well go the way of Apple’s Ping – loads of promise, before a quiet ushering towards retirement.