Facebook’s Music Initiatives: A Brief Timeline

With this summer’s U.S. launch of Spotify and the overnight popularity of Turntable.fm, the social music industry has been buzzing as of late, and Facebook is about to jump into the fray. But the truth is Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to make Facebook a musically minded network for years. Between launching artist pages to compete with MySpace and attempting to negotiate deals with digital retailers, the rumor mill surrounding Facebook Music has been churning steady since 2007. Now that we finally have a solid sense of how Facebook Music is going to look, feel and function, Hive charts Facebook’s play in the social music scene. Lets get this (social network) party started.

October 2007: Facebook Guns for MySpace Monopoly on Music

In the mid-aughts, MySpace band pages were ubiquitous for pop sensations and garage bands alike. However, Facebook looked to capitalize on the last glimmer of hope MySpace ever had (besides Justin Timberlake) and launched its artist pages platform, a one-stop shop to preview tracks, check tour calendars and engage in other relevant multimedia. The move seems obvious now, as Facebook “fan” pages are a staple of any brands social media efforts today, musician or otherwise. [Paidcontent]

December 2008: Facebook Kills Project Playlist App

After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from music labels and the RIAA, Facebook disables a popular playlist widget powered by the startup Project Playlist. [CNET]

October 2009: Facebook Explores Partnerships with LaLa and Others

Wary of the intense scrutiny of the music industry and the painstaking process it takes to strike licensing deals, especially after the Project Playlist debacle, Facebook tries to avoid those headaches by partnering with an already established player in the digital-music space. A music gifting service, where you give songs in the same vein as other digital gifts, was in the works and (rumored to be) powered by LaLa, Last.fm or iMeem.  [Inside Facebook]

April 2010: Coachella Live Webcast on Facebook

For those of us too lazy, broke or comfortable in our own beds, Coachella 2010 (with headliners Jay-Z, Muse and Gorillaz) was streamed live on Facebook for all users to enjoy. [Facebook]

July 2010: Kanye West Visits Facebook HQ

If your looking to start a viral marketing campaign, why not play nice with the people running the show? In July 2010, Kanye West paid a surprise visit to Facebook headquarters, where he subsequently jumped on a table and performed several freestyles, one of which would be the a capella to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy anthem “Lost in the World.” [YouTube]

January-February 2011: The Social Network Wins Golden Globe/Oscar for “Best Original Score”

Although never given Mark Zuckerberg’s official blessing, the fictionalized rendition of the founding of Facebook cleaned up at the Golden Globes and Oscars. Most out of any nominee, David Fincher’s film won four awards, including one shiny statue for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ eerie original score. While this wasn’t a Facebook driven motive, it still reminded everyone that music and the world’s most popular social networking platform do go hand in hand.

July 2011: Facebook Vibes a Mystery, Potential Hint at Music Service

Software developer Jeff Rose accidentally found a string of mysterious code while downloading a necessary file for a new Facebook video chat function, pointing to a page called “MusicDownloadDialog.” The Internet wonders aloud if a branded Facebook music product is already in the pipeline. [Huffington Post]

July 2011: Facebook Releases Musician’s Playbook

Despite the internet’s great equalizing power, not everybody has the marketing budget and or know-how to run a successful Facebook campaign. Addressing the needs of independent musicians, FB launched the Musician’s Playbook, a self-help social media marketing guide to help drive traffic and engagement to often lonely fan pages. [Scribd]

August 21, 2011: Spotify Said to Be Linked to Facebook

After a successful U.S. launch, music streaming service Spotify was rumored to have marketing plans that utilized Facebook heavily and that an announcement at the September Facebook presentation (“F8″) would link the two. [Billboard]

September 18th, 2011: Rumors of Facebook Partnerships Across All Major Music Streaming Brands

While many thought there might have been an exclusive partnership between Facebook and Spotify once the music streaming service arrived in the U.S., it now seems the major players in internet radio have an almost cartel-like cooperation when it comes to partnering with Facebook. Through audio bridging technology, it seems possible for two friends to have a social music experience, even if one is on Spotify and the other Rdio, ultimately making Facebook the means of communication between these varied services. [PC World]

September 22 2011: FB Launches Real-Time Music Discovery

At the f8 conference today, Mark Zuckerberg finally unveiled how Facebook will facilitate the sharing and discovery of music. In line with a complete overhaul of the site, users will be able to see whatever songs their friends are listening to in real-time within the ticker feed that now appears on your homepage. Although you will be able to see top songs and albums across different streaming music providers, “click-n-play” functionality will only exist between users who use the same product. In other words, if one friend is using Spotify and the other isn’t, you’re not able to “listen in.” Because of this paradigm, Facebook Music will not be the glue among streaming services we hoped for, but make the competition all the more heated. [Gizmodo]

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