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Social media giant faces up to the music

Social media giant faces up to the music

The company last week announced the relaunch of its Music On Facebook platform, significantly expanding the offering which first arrived in 2008.

The new Music On Facebook site offers dedicated free page builds for musicians, venues and fans.

Artists can send tour updates, upload music and photos and manage direct marketing. The site also offers musicians advice on how best to use the platform to communicate with existing fans and reach new ones.

The social networking giant, which has some 600m users globally, said the new Music on Facebook Page was "for music fans of all kinds".

"Whether you're a musician yourself, have a job in the music industry, or simply love good tunes, this is the page to stay up-to-date with what is happening in music on Facebook," it said.

The company initially launched Music On Facebook in 2008 but it failed to catch fire.

However, the last two years have seen the social media landscape shift significantly with Myspace, once the byword for music-based social networking, shedding users.

News Corp. is now preparing for a speedy sale of the site that it paid $580m (?350.3m) for in 2005.

In the interim, a number of other services - most notably RootMusic and damntheradio - have carved a niche for themselves by offering Facebook page builds and content management for acts.

But the relationship has not always been an easy one. RootMusic recently caused controversy when its co-founder J Sider seemed to attack Facebook at the Rethink Music conference in Boston, saying, "When's the last time you tried to do something with Facebook, and they listened to you?"

He quickly backtracked in a posting on the Hypebot site, saying, "What I was saying is that Facebook is a great platform to build on and as you've said we have had a lot of success with it.

"We have a great relationship with them and appreciate it very much. But if you are an individual artist or manager it's tough to simply call up FB and ask if they could make a change on the platform for you."

Given the scale of Facebook, any move it makes in the music sphere is likely to be intensely scrutinized by the music industry.

However, one label digital marketing head was unimpressed by the relaunch of Music On Facebook, believing the move to be too little, too late, when a variety of quality bolt-on services such as RootMusic and SoundCloud already exist.

"Right now it simply looks like a starter page for people looking to set up a fan page," he said. "Of course that might change over time, but right now it only has 180,000 fans, so it's got no reach whatsoever."

"But right now I'd argue their best bet would just be to buy RootMusic and make that a default app, at the Pro level, for all artist pages," he added.

Facebook was, of course, supposed to integrate with Ping, Apple's music-centric social network within the iTunes player, but withdrew just before its launch in September last year.

Since then Ping has struggled to gain traction while Facebook was successfully integrated into Spotify's player client.

Last month, MXP4 took music-based social gaming into Facebook with the launch of its Bopler titles. After several years of being pushed to the margins of Facebook, this year could finally see music could move centre stage on the world's biggest social network.

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