updated 04:30 pm EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
Facebook to drop full media integration plans
Facebook's media plans will be scaled down when they finally show at f8 on Thursday, insiders uncovered Tuesday afternoon. Instead of playing on Facebook through a central hub, listeners or viewers will have to launch an outside app. It will still carry over information and use a Facebook sign-on, but AllThingsD understood it would still have to open the third-party app when relevant, such as with Spotify.
Explanations are diverse. A few blame the technology, but rights are considered more probable. The services, which include MOG, Rdio, Soundcloud, and others, might object to the content playing outside of its normal web or app confines. Spotify runs all its free ads in its app and might not have an alternative without making users pay for a subscription.
The technology was real and was supposedly "cool," but it would have raised concerns about Facebook's attempts to rein in the web. Critics have already argued that the Like button, and soon the matching Listen and Watch buttons, would make it difficult to completely escape Facebook's presence on the web. Even with the need for third-party apps and sites, it could lead to consolidation where music and video users stay on Facebook instead of separate pages.
Facebook's partners are nonetheless optimistic that it could see a glut of new users, as they see the exposure in users' status updates and walls as a way of increasing exposure that they haven't had in the past. Spotify, the number one music source in Europe, is still much smaller than iTunes in the US as it's still mostly trading on its earlier reputation.