Facebook has finally announced a link up with Spotify, offering up most of its functionality within the social network.
The idea is that it will make listening to music more social and improves on the Connect features that were released before.
This is done in three ways within Facebook: the first is the real-time ticker on the right-hand side of your homepage. This will give you a constant update of what people are listening to.
The second part is within your main feed. Here you will get highly relevant stories about the music people like. Music will only appear here if you have some friends that are also listening to the same tune - this means that Facebook is essentially curating a best-of music feed for you.
The final element of this is the music dashboard. Here you can see what everyone is listening to and has listened to on your network.
This is a massive list of music in one place; albums that are trending in your network and finally a long feed of what your friends have been listening to.
The first thing you need to know about the service is that for Spotify on Facebook to work, you need to have a Spotify account already. This isn't a major problem, however, as the two companies have made it easier than ever to sign up to the service.
If you are a user who doesn't have Spotify, you will still get bits of news feed telling you what your friends are listening to. Once you click one of these messages you will be asked whether you want to download the Spotify client or not. Click okay and this will then download Spotify on to your computer and instantly create an account for you using your Facebook account credentials.
A prompt also appears if you don't have Spotify open, this just asks you if you want to open the Spotify client. Click okay and you are away.
As this integration is all about being social, the more you put into the service the more you will get out of it. If you allow Facebook to aggregate what you listen to on Spotify, then this should cause a domino effect within your friend group.
When you click on a track one of your friends are listening to, what comes up is an image of the album the track is from and a big play button, all you have to do is click on this and it will start playing the song.
While you are doing this through Facebook, what is actually happening is Spotify is running in the background – you can even flick between Facebook and Spotify to see this happening. So it is not streaming through the Facebook page, rather Spotify is 'talking' to its Facebook client.
The reason it has been done this way is actually quite sound. Essentially, if you move away from Facebook, then the music will still play – this means that you get the same experience that you do at the moment with Spotify.
With this in mind, the integration with Spotify is pretty seamless. You can even pause and play the track you are listening to with your keyboard.
And it doesn't just work on single tracks, either – if you click on someone's playlist, then this will be saved onto your Spotify account.
At the moment, there's one feature yet to launch that will make the service even more social. This is called Listen Along and will be launched in the UK and US first, but quite when we do not know.
This will allow you to listen in 'live' to what any of your friends are listening to, even if the track is playing halfway through. It works in much the same way as clicking on a friend's music link at the moment, except when you hover over it you will be asked if you want to listen in live.
This could be a massive thing for Facebook, as you can become a DJ for your friends, with any number of them listening into what you are playing – there could definitely be some commercial interest in this from DJs around the world as well.
When this becomes integrated it will also come with its own chat service, so a chat pop up will appear and you can talk among your friends.
Spotify has had to be clever with its algorithms to make sure its service is seen as global on Facebook. This does mean that there will be some song matching going on.
This will happen if you are trying to listen to a friend's music who is living oversees and there's no rights for this track in your country. Spotify will try and best match it but if it can't, and we are told this is rare, then a pop-up will appear saying you can't listen to the track.
At the moment, the discovery of new music can only be done through your friends. If you do want to listen to your favourite band's music through Facebook, however, you can do so by searching for their fan page and you will find a list of their most played tunes on Spotify.
We would like to see a more pro-active search approach for the service but at the moment, Spotify on Facebook works and it works well – as long as you are in sync with your friend's music collection that is.
Spotify on Facebook is set to roll out globally over the next few days.
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