Will Facebook Music Actually Work?

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“I can see all the stuff [my friend] is listening to,” said Zuck, “and play it with whatever music player he used to play it.”

Gizmodo points out that the choice wording hereWhatever music player he used to play it, meaning limited cross-platform sharing—likely means that only one music service will end up standing tall above the others (hint: the winner starts with an “S” and ends with “potify”).

But that’s not what I have a problem with. When it comes to social music sharing, we’d much rather be benevolent than the one being turned onto something new. The exchange itself is the part about “social” that people genuinely enjoy.

Think about it: Whenever you play a new song for a friend in your car, you can’t help but feel great when they like it, too. It’s “sharing” in that specific sense that Turntable.fm has at its core.

(VIDEO: Quick Look at the New Facebook Interface)

But clicking on a Ticker to find new tracks? It’s an anonymous act. Facebook’s algorithm connecting A (you) to B (them) is a taste-killer, like a white elephant gift to no one in particular.

I could be wrong. As a discovery stream, the new Facebook Ticker could very well be the new Hype Machine in that, yeah, people will find something to listen to. But it says something about the quality of each share; if everything is put out there, then what happens to the value of the gesture? That’s where I suspect Zuckerberg to have missed the mark. His idea of “sharing” is something different altogether.

The way you experience music, compared to other media, is an intensely personal one, shaped by taste and experience. When you show someone new music it’s the act that actually means something more than the song itself (think about how heartbreaking it is to show someone a song you’re really digging only to have them say it’s “just okay”).

On Facebook? The Open Graph here is just another one-way broadcast—a megaphone that paints the extension of your online persona.

And that’s beyond the obvious embarrassment factor of sharing something you’d rather not (like that not-so-secret Taylor Swift playlist that you’re only prompted for once). In a sense, it isn’t as much music sharing as it is leaving the door open for eavesdroppers. The problem is that you won’t really know who’s actually there listening.

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Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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