Social-networking site Facebook is about to launch a new digital music service, if rumours are to be believed.
The Facebook Music Service launched in late 2007 but was quickly slated. However, according to The New York Post, a new service could be on the cards.
The idea of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg plotting a possible push into the digital-music business would hardly come as a surprise. Zuckerberg and his team have never stopped working on the music issue. Everyone (including Zuckerberg) knows that Facebook is abysmally behind in the music business and it must figure out a way to catch up.
According to the story, Facebook might forsake making its own deals with the four major record labels in favor of working through a partnership with a third-party music streaming service. In addition, Facebook's plans apparently reflect a case of MySpace Music envy - founder Mark Zuckerberg has renewed his interest in music due to MySpace's recent success with the launch of its music service.
This is not surprising. MySpace Music launched in the US and enjoyed incredible success. According to reports from MySpace, one billion songs were streamed in the first few days that the service was live. There is no doubt that everyone at Facebook was watching the MySpace Music launch closely. After all, there were questions about whether MySpace Music would succeed or not. Now that MySpace has proven that music tied to a social network can be a big success, Facebook has the confirmation that it may have been waiting for that music is a business worth pursuing.
According to the September 2008 social network report from Universal McCann, 34 percent of social network users are already actively giving their opinions on music and 10 percent have promoted a band. This interest in music is second only to photo sharing, which is done by 55 percent of social network users. Online consumers want to consume music, and they will use a social network to do so.
So will Facebook get into the digital music business? Definitely. Will it happen quickly? Probably not. As billions of music dollars move from offline to online channels, Facebook is going to think long and hard about the business model that will allow the company to make the most money possible from its 130 million plus unique visitors. And when Facebook eventually launches its music service, every possibility will have been explored, including my personal prediction: some sort of partnership with iTunes.