For several weeks prior to last week's f8 conference, word got around that Facebook would be unveiling some kind of music initiative. Would the social networking behemoth launch its own streaming service? A cloud music locker like Google, Apple and Amazon? As details emerged it became clear that their ambitions were more modest, but still very significant: Facebook would be partnering with a handful of existing music services to more closely integrate them with the social mega-site.
That's exactly what went live last week shortly after Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and others took the stage at f8. Services like Spotify, Rdio and Mog are now more tightly integrated into Facebook's platform, with real-time music listening data showing up everywhere from your News Feed to the site's new Music dashboard.
While many are excited about the implications of this new level of social integration, some have been less enthusiastic.
Too Much Information?
First, there was the revelation that Facebook would post an update about every track you listen to via services like MOG and Spotify to the site's real-time news feed. While this is easy to opt out of if you don't want people to know about your Spice Girls nostalgia, it can flood your friends with more information than they really want if the feature is enabled.
Some people listen to a ton of music throughout the day. Much of that may be albums they're listening to as background music. Some of it may be new tracks they're previewing. Some of it may be random songs that pop up in shuffle mode. The complaint that many have is this: Just because we listen to something doesn't mean we automatically want tell the world about it, or that the world necessarily cares.
A more measured approach might be to post an update to your profile once per day with a round-up of your most-listened to tracks and artists. This data could continue to serve a useful purpose in the new Timeline profile and on the Music dashboard, but could be aggregated without spamming your entire network that you're checking out the 20th anniversary reissue of Nirvana's "Nevermind."
Log-in-Gate: Why Do You Need a Facebook Account to Sign Up?
Yesterday, Spotify got its first real dose of bad P.R. since launching in the United States after word spread that the service now requires a Facebook account to sign up and stream music. People began tearing the company apart on its Get Satisfaction user forum, as the Next Web reported.
Spotify isn't the only Facebook partner now requiring users to sign up using their social credentials. MOG is apparently doing the same thing.
These services could have rolled out a Facebook sign-in option like countless other sites, but instead they removed the option to sign up without Facebook entirely. This has naturally riled up many users, who don't necessarily want to tie their Facebook account to their Spotify or MOG account. Some of them may not have a Facebook account at all.
For all the controversy its managed to stir up in the last 24 hours, Spotify's Facebook partnership seems to be working. They've already seen their Facebook-integrated users increase by 1 million. Competing streaming service Rdio, who is not requiring Facebook registration, also saw an increase in usage on the social network.
What do you think about the way Facebook has integrated with these music streaming services? Is this the way of the future or a way to frustrate users? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.