Last week was all about Facebook, or rather Facebook talking about Facebook dreams into the big pundit echo chamber.
Alarmingly, commentators spoke about a revolutionary answer to web music monetization problems. Some even claimed last year’s Facebook F8 had transformed the Internet already. What? Against my better judgement I had a look.
Pundit World is a completely different planet to the one I’m on. Facebook is a big social site with 500 million or maybe a billion users but that’s all. Last week they talked about real time music features although they still can’t get notifications to work on their own app. My Facebook web site page is too buggy to rely on and musicians regularly report fan pages get blocked. That’s no basis for music solutions on my planet.
And what did Zuckerberg offer? Auto-updates about music you’re streaming from some sites and posts from some music ticketing sites. Of course, music pundits’ nom du jour Spotify was dropped too but if you’re not on Spotify or whatever else gets posted there’s no read-across from your friends’ music to yours.
Zuckerberg is taking his lead from contemporary Internet hit sites like Spotify and Turntable.fm but the music industry is way too fossilised to allow an open social music experience. For that you need to take your iPod round your friend’s house, or go to a gig.
There are two audiences for puffery like this: investors and users. I think investors will be happy, they got tons of media time and megatons of hype but from a user point of view it could be Apple Ping—will anyone care? Musician-user streaming money is negligible so there’s nothing for them—they’d probably prefer Facebook pages that work, or someone to pick up the phone when they don’t.
Of course the Facebook timeline was also announced—they might stop messing around with posts and give you chronological order. That one is straight out of the software developer’s marketing manual: how to make a blindingly obvious correction look like a new feature.