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Move over Apple and Spotify… here comes Facebook Music

Taylor Swift on Facebook

Facebook reportedly gearing up to launch its own streaming service

Facebook is reportedly talking to record labels with a view to potentially launching its own music streaming service. The social network is one of the few major tech companies without its own streaming service, but that could be about to change.

The Verge reports that Facebook has held talks with Sony, Universal and Warner about a potential move into the music market, although all four companies have declined to divulge what the discussions were about. The assumption is that Facebook’s planning to launch its own rival to Apple Music, Spotify and the other streaming services, although it’s not clear what the social network will add to the increasingly crowded market. 

Apple this week launched its Music service, which in some ways encroaches upon Facebook’s territory. Apple Music includes a Connect facility, that allows users to follow and receive updates from their favourite artists. Apple’s previous attempt to bring social networking to music, Ping, was unmitigated disaster, and it may be that Facebook believes it can do a better job of connecting artists to fans, given that many major artists already have significant Facebook followings. Taylor Swift, for instance, has more than 71 million Likes on her Facebook page.

Integrating music streaming into Facebook would also increase the amount of time users spend on the social network, increasing the company’s potential to sell advertising. However, Facebook would have a hard time persuading artists and labels to offer free streams to users. Apple has already won favour by offering the labels a greater share of the revenue from its Music subscriptions, once its three-month free trial has ended. Apple was forced into a public climbdown, after the aforementioned Taylor Swift protested against Apple’s initial decision not to pay royalties during Music’s three-month trial

Facebook may be tempted to give music a shot after the massive success it’s enjoyed with video content. The social network now handles four billion video plays every day, and this week announced plans to share advertising revenue with video creators, in the same way YouTube does. 

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