Ever since news broke back in May that Facebook was planning on adding new music functionality, speculation has been rampant over what exactly these features will look like and when they'll go live.
Facebook's Music Plans Reach Far Beyond Spotify: The Real Story
And after Facebook set Sept. 22 as the date for its F8 developers conference, the smart money is that all details will be unveiled then. But that doesn't mean the theorizing has ended.
TechCrunch has posted some thoughts based on its sources, most of which we already knew. But the more interesting tidbit is that it has sources saying the Facebook Music service will offer some sort of univeral music-access solution.
A quick bit of background: Facebook Music is not a Facebook music service per se, but rather a way of adding all the music activity taking place on other music services-namely subscription services like MOG, Spotify and Rdio-into the Facebook stream. As noted by TechCrunch (and Billboard earlier this summer), this basically means that as users play music from their respective service, those songs will appear on their Facebook wall, as will the ability to post playlists and other music actions.
The question we had at the time was whether users of one service would be able to listen to music and playlists posted by friends using a different service. TechCrunch's sources say that's the plan, which would be a very interesting development should it come to fruition. There are many names for this capability from universal access to content resolution, but the upshot is that is would help defragment the streaming music market in a way the early a la cart market was unable to accomplish during the days of DRM incompatibility.
Of course users with no subscription music service plan would be limited only to 30-second samples. Or will they? Spotify has it's free tier (which once out of beta in the U.S. will be limited to 10 hours or so a month). And other streaming services are hard at work developing a free tier workaround themselves. Adding that free tier will be a crucial element for this to succeed.