Facebook Announces New 'Music Stories' Feature

Courtesy of Facebook
A woman watching a video on her Facebook news feed onn iPhone.

Facebook is trying to make music work... again. After some less-than-stellar starts and stops, including a much-maligned 2011 feature which telegraphed Facebook user's Spotify listens to their friends, the company is taking a much more measured approach to its new foray into music. As one source says frankly, music as a thing hasn't really existed on the platform. Now it will... sort of.

Beginning today, songs shared either through a URL or "Share on Facebook" button within Spotify and Apple Music will appear in the news feeds of iOS users as 30-second song samples. (The 30-second samples were no doubt, as will be obvious to anyone with experience in music, pretty easy to negotiate.) If a song is interesting enough after a handful seconds, fans can add that music to their streaming service accounts. In a blog post on the release, director of product Michael Cerda says the company "will expand Music Story support for additional streaming music services soon."

And that's pretty much it, for now.

While immediately gauging the impact of the integration is impossible, any time Facebook sways its roots (the News Feed) the ground is forced to follow. This is clearly a shot across the bow, with much more interesting things still being very carefully considered, and more streams -- whether an impactful amount or just an intriguing amount -- will follow.  Instagram, which Facebook bought in April 2012 for $1 billion, has had success with its own @music account, which focuses on emerging artists and snackable videos that work well on that platform. And it's not as though music sharing within Facebook doesn't exist -- YouTube links posted to the platform may not play natively within Facebook, but do open quickly and clean on mobile.

Facebook has placed heavy emphasis on media within the platform this year, launching Instant Articles with some big-name publishers in tow, as well as a nascent, but intimidating, video play (re-upping the problematic practice of freebooting in the process), which is now generating 8 billion video views per day, according to Zuckerberg, who announced the figure on the company's quarterly earnings call. Not to mention the company's strong financials, having reported 1.55 billion monthly active users as of September 30, with revenues up 41 percent over last year.