April 20, 2024

Facebook Is Developing Ways to Share Media

The company is in discussions with several online music services, including the European company Spotify, to develop a tab or widget that would display a user’s most-played songs and provide an easy way for friends to hear them, two people involved in the discussions said.

Facebook wants to do the same for other kinds of media, like video and news, said these people, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Facebook, which has nearly 700 million users, would not comment on its plans. But analysts and media executives said the company’s move into media was part of its ambition to become a hub for all types of activities on the Internet. And as the company sees it, people increasingly define themselves through the media they consume, they said.

In a statement, Facebook said, “We’re always looking for better ways to help people discover the most relevant content on Facebook but have nothing to announce.”

With media highlighted as a permanent and highly visible part of a user’s profile page, the company hopes to replicate the success it has had in becoming a top destination for games in other forms of entertainment. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, hinted at the company’s plans during a presentation at the eG8 technology conference in France this week.

“Listening to music is something that people do with their friends,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Music, TV, news, books — those types of things I think people just naturally do with their friends. I hope we can play a part in enabling those new companies to get built, and companies that are out there producing this great content to become more social.”

Facebook has long worked to spread its tentacles across the Web, and to persuade media companies to use its data about connections between people to make their services more “social.” In France, Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned Netflix as one of the companies that had been in talks with Facebook.

Several music services, like Spotify and Pandora, already allow users to log in with their Facebook credentials, and they personalize their sites for users based on the activities of their friends. But Facebook wants to make it easier for users to tap into those activities on its site.

According to the people involved in the negotiations, Facebook’s various media partners would each have a part in a continuous feed displaying the songs a user is listening to or the video a user is watching. Friends could then gain access to the same content with a click. By using outside partners, Facebook itself would not license any content from record companies or television networks.

Facebook is known for tinkering with products until they are ready, and the features of Facebook’s new services for music and other media could change before they are released.

The effort could pay off in a big way if Facebook succeeds in devising features that would allow its members to pay for access to third-party music services using its online currency, Credits, said David Kirkpatrick, the author of “The Facebook Effect.”

“Music could be a gold mine, just like games have been a gold mine,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said.

Reports of Facebook’s talks with Spotify have surfaced repeatedly on technology blogs, leading to speculation that Facebook would work with the service to create a music channel. But people with knowledge of Facebook’s strategy say the company never wanted to tie itself to a single music service, preferring instead to work with multiple partners.

Spotify, which is available in seven European countries, has been in talks with major record labels for distribution in the United States. It already has Facebook connections: Sean Parker, an early Facebook investor, is also an investor in Spotify.

Jim Butcher, a Spotify spokesman, said, “We’re continuously working together to make the social experience on Spotify the best it can be and welcome relationships with any company looking to innovate by building more social value into the user experience.”

Last year, Facebook negotiated with Apple about bringing social features into iTunes. But the talks broke down and Apple created its own social network within iTunes, called Ping. It has not become popular with users.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=983e4a1d770efd64ad7cb4f335ba445c

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