updated 05:25 pm EDT, Sat September 10, 2011
Facebook to provide cross-service music linking
The upcoming Facebook music service many expect at the f8 conference on September 22 could have a unique integration between rival providers. A leak Saturday indicated it would have "content resolution" that would guarantee access to songs as long as someone had least one of the partner services. An Rdio user sharing a song would automatically make a link to MOG or Spotify, TechCrunch gave as one example.
While there would likely be some gaps, the unified approach would be rare for the industry, where services are often reluctant to make it easy to jump to or stay on another provider. The potential for exposure through Facebook may have tipped the balance.
Along with the unified links, Facebook is expected to add scrobbling, or automatically tracking play counts much like Last.fm's service and plugins. It may be a "key" part of the music system by making it easy to track what's been played. It might end up dictating the content in frequent users' feeds and could be used to gauge listening habits, either for the subscriber or for Facebook.
The deployment if it comes through at f8 isn't expected to compete directly with iTunes or other music stores. However, it would follow the pattern of Likes on the outside web and fold more parts of the outside Internet into Facebook. Encouraging more use of streams through Facebook encourages more use on its web pages rather than through apps like those from the individual providers or competitors like Apple.