A year-and-a-half ago, Facebook’s director of strategic partnerships Ime Archbong told Billboard that the company was looking to fragment its Swiss Army Knife-like social platform, creating separate apps for each of the many powerful features it has. Evidence of this came soon after out talk with Archibong, when the company split off its messaging service into a separate app and required mobile users to use it if they wanted to chat on the go. Could the next thing it splits off be the app of a freshly acquired audio company like SoundCloud, Rdio, or even Spotify? Let’s take a look at some very recent history.
Last week, Billboard broke the news that Facebook is looking to move into the music video business, securing deals with the majors for select videos to appear on its nascent, ad-supported video play. The expansion was said to be a trial run through the end of this year, after which Facebook and its label partners would evaluate how things went and go on from there. Despite that beta-phase timetable, it was reported by Music Ally yesterday that Facebook is looking to enter the on-demand streaming business for itself, to compete with Apple, Google, Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Microsoft, Pandora and SoundCloud. (And everyone else we’re definitely forgetting.)
Well, Facebook says differently. In a statement to Billboard, Facebook says it has “no plans to go into music streaming.” As well, a source at one major label said they’ve had no discussions with Facebook about an on-demand streaming service and were surprised by reports of its streaming interest. Another source says Facebook has expressed interest in some type of music integration into its platform, but that it wouldn’t be near the typical $9.99 per month services offered by Spotify, Rdio et al.
Indeed, the Music Ally report came as a surprise, considering the company’s first toe-dip into music monetization came just a week prior. Of course, Facebook would like people to never have to leave its royal blue walls — thus the partnership announced a few weeks ago with several major publishers to put their work on its platform.
If Facebook does get into the music streaming business, it won’t be for a long while. Take Apple as an example — that company bought a fully functional streaming service a year-and-a-half ago, and just launched it last week. Besides, nobody rushes Mark.