The details on listening to music on Facebook, specifically with Spotify, were finally unveiled at the 2011 F8 conference last Thursday.
Facebook has done a lot of work with their “Open Graph” API which allows third party developers to create applications that interface with Facebook.
Instead of launching a self-hosted music service, Facebook has decided to partner with third-party companies that are already offering music and video services.
Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio, Soundcloud, Earbits, Vevo, Slacker Radio and Songza are the big music providers that Facebook has decided to partner with to allow users to listen to music on Facebook.
Since the announcement on Thursday, I’ve enabled the new Facebook Timeline interface and I’ve connected my Facebook account to my Spotify account.
What Exactly is Spotify?
Before I explain how Spotify interfaces with Facebook, it is important to understand what exactly Spotify is.
Spotify is a “social” streaming music service. Once you download Spotify, you can search for artists, songs and even genres of music to listen to. The service doesn’t have everything in terms of music but it has almost everything and I expect their music library to grow now that they’ve entered the U.S. market.
The feature that makes Spotify “social” is the ability to add friends to Spotify, view their playlists and view their most listened to songs.
You can also “send” songs to friends for them to listen to. If you send a song to a friend, it will appear in their Spotify inbox and they can then stream the song.
Until recently, Spotify was its own service that did not interface with any other social media platform.
How Spotify Works Inside Facebook
Now that you know what Spotify is, lets talk about how you can use Spotify alongside Facebook. As of last Thursday, you can now connect your Facebook account to Spotify.
Once you connect the two services there a great deal of new features available for you to play around with:
Facebook Friends Appear Inside the Spotify App
Once your Facebook account is linked up with your Spotify account, your Facebook friends that also use Spotify will appear within the Spotify application. You can then share songs with them and view their playlists and most listened to songs.
Spotify Playlists are Accessible Through Facebook
If you allow the Spotify App to post to your Facebook account, your Facebook friends will see a widget on your Facebook profile that lists all of the playlists that you’ve created within Spotify.
Your friends can then press the play button next to any of the songs on Facebook and, if they have the Spotify application open, the application will automatically navigate to the playlist that was selected and begin playing the song.
This is one of the first times that I’ve seen a web-based application actually make changes to a local application on your computer!
Songs Being Listened To Appear in Facebook’s Real-Time Activity Ticker
Once you have your Spotify and Facebook accounts connected, if you listen to a song within Spotify, Facebook will notify your friends, through the activity ticker, that you’re listening to the particular song.
Your friend can then click on the notification and listen to the song with you, “like” the activity, or even comment on it.
Although some people may not like the privacy implications of this, I think the idea of socially listening to the same music from two separate locations is quite astounding and innovative!
Recent Songs Appear on Your Facebook Profile
Once you start listening to music with your accounts linked, a widget will appear on your profile for your friends to see a list of the songs you’ve recently listened to.
Friends can then click and play the songs in the same way that they can from the activity feed.
After using Spotify through Facebook for a couple days I’d have to say that I’m quite impressed. If you can get past some of the privacy concerns then you’ll definitely enjoy the ability to see what music your Facebook friends are listening to and, at the same time, share your favorite music with all of your friends.
One of the most amazing parts of this new partnership is the speed at which Facebook updates based on what you’re listening to in Spotify. Your Spotify activities are published to Facebook in real-time!
One must also realize that this service is brand new and will most definitely be tweaked and improved as bugs are noticed and user feedback is taken into account.
We’re entering a whole new age of social sharing, online presence and even digital lifestyles. The ability to socially listen to music on Facebook through Spotify is just the beginning of what is to come and, I for one, am very excited about it!
Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!