The last we heard of Facebook’s musical ambitions was its toe-dip of a new feature ‘Music Stories,’ which the company unveiled a month ago, on Nov. 11. Now the company wants to sell you tickets.
“We’re excited to partner with a small, initial group of independent venues, artists and event promoters in the San Francisco Bay Area,” says a Facebook spokesperson in a statement, “to help organizers sell more tickets via Facebook and to make ticket purchasing easier and faster for people.” According to one source, organizers keep 100 percent of the ticket price, and that we can expect to see Facebook expanding the program beyond music.
Much like digital music sales to Apple, ticketing will never account for even a slim portion of Facebook’s income. (The company made $4.5 billion in the last quarter of this year and $4.2 billion of that was from advertising.) The point is, of course, to offer both users of the site and the artists that keep them there a value they can’t ignore. The data that Facebook can offer artists is profound, which (depending on what Facebook lets them see) could result in more energy being invested on the platform, thus drawing more people to it more often — and the snowball continues to roll down the hill. Just ask Pandora, which bought TicketFly in October and Next Big Sound in May — the latter to provide artists better data through their AMP program (as Spotify and YouTube have done), the former to serve both fans and artists. All of this a preamble to the possibly acrimonious licensing negotiations Pandora will be facing with major labels and music representatives as it looks to launch a streaming service next year out of the Frankenstein pieces of Rdio that remain post-bankruptcy.
That same source says that it plans to continue bolstering the data available to Pages owners — artists and their teams — over the coming months.
Prior to the introduction of Music Stories (really, just 30-second previews of songs from Spotify and Apple Music that appear in your main News Feed) Billboard reported that Facebook was in talks with the major labels to feature music videos on the site to bolster its already-strong (though somewhat inflated) push around video which, according to the most recent figures, is generating about 8 billion views a day across all categories of video. The results of those talks have yet to materialize.
In the digital age, each day seems to present new, existential challenges for creators and those looking to make a business out of that creativity. Whether piracy, unsustainable or non-existent royalty structures or aesthetic and market-based saturation of ears and iPods (don’t laugh — some people still use them), around every corner lurks a new threat. That the pixelated industry we live in now offers no clear path is both blessing and curse; more than ever, there’s no formula for success — artists and their teams are required to write their own.