Support Marketplace

How you'll listen to music in a post-CD world

The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, Calif.

Facebook's new music service is expected to debut later this month at the company's f8 conference. Goodness knows we have plenty of online music services out there already: Spotify, Pandora, Rdio just to name a few. What Facebook is apparently going to do is a little different. There won't be massive banks of music on Facebook servers somewhere, ready to stream to you. Instead, Facebook will bring you music from those services and pump it through Facebook.

That will mean more socializing, more sharing with friends, more shared experiences, more recommendations based on what your friends are listening to.

Eliot Van Buskirk is the editor of Evolver.fm, a site that covers the growing world of online music and music apps. He says social will be a big shift in music: "The most interesting thing happening right now is this idea of listening together and sometimes even at the same time. So you're chatting about music with your friends while you're listening. And so what's important about Facebook getting involved is that they will bring it to the mainstream. You know, many of us already have our friends set up on Facebook, Facebook will start integrating with every major music service you can think of and there will be a new tab to let you see what people are listening to and join them."

Those services he's talking about are things like Pandora or Spotify or Rdio, all these online companies that stream music to you. You either subscribe or have to listen some ads once in a while. The idea is that Facebook would take all those options and run them through Facebook.

That's one way to simplify those services at least. But Van Buskirk says the services themselves can simplify your life: "If you think things are confusing with an iPod and a smartphone and a tablet and a computer, just wait until the TV takes off as app platform and after that the car. That's a lot of transferring music if you're not using a subscription-type service, if you're actually connecting a cable every time. It's a full-time job. You have to be a music admin. So these subscription services are great because all of these devices access that account."

No one knows if Facebook's service will take off. We've recently seen the company back out of competing with Foursquare on geolocation and it has backed out of Deals, its Groupon competitor. But if Facebook works in all these other music sites, that could end up being different, says Van Buskirk. "Facebook has a tremendous number of users that seem to have figured out how it works. And if this comes down to just a simple tab of 'Bob is listening to this song, do you want to listen?' I think we can get our heads around that. Finally there's a chance that all of this stuff will be brought together and maybe we can share across these services so that it doesn't matter which one I like and which one you like, we'll still be able to listen together."

Also in this program, George Lucas is monkeying with "Star Wars" again, adding unnecessary new lines for Darth Vader and making Ewoks blink. Because apparently Ewoks need to blink. And apparently Lucas can't accept the idea of a film being done and good enough as it was. And apparently he doesn't realize that by messing with it, it's sort of like destroying the actual memories we had of the film and he's revising history. Not that I'm bitter. I'M TOTALLY BITTER.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...