The Empire Strikes Back: Facebook Music & The Resurection Of the Dark Side.
Facebook has forever shied away from music. The best it previously offered was limited integration with Root Music and Reverb Nation to host a pretty drab music tab. The people at Facebook seemed very aware that, while music essentially built Myspace, it was also the very thing that killed it.
With Indie artists doing their best to incorporate Facebook into their promotional agenda, the use of Facebook as a tool to break a band wasn’t really an effective strategy. “We are big on facebook” was never as ubiquitous as “We’re big on myspace”.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
So when Facebook main man Mark Zuckerberg announced his apparent excitement of the newly created Facebook Music, one had to wonder why the sudden shift.
Well indie kids, like the closing minutes of the movie Seven, except with Gwyneth Paltrows head replaced with the severed cranium of indie music, I am afraid to say, “The major labels have the upper hand”.
Like it or not, they own Spotify, they reap the rewards and they have storefront placement.
Sounding decidedly old school isn’t it?
Now with Spotify requiring new users to log in with a facebook account, they have the makings of a new music network that could actually provide a platform of growth for the major musical releases.
THEY ARE WATCHING YOU
With your musical algorithm’s being logged, just like your purchases at Amazon and your preferences at Google currently are, those in charge of the mainframe can feed you what they believe you want. Facebook now decides which posts are most relevant to you, unless you actually bother going through each of your friends and set it differently. With the integration of Spotify, they can tell you what your friends are listening to and furthermore chose to highlight that on your wall.
With the majors in pole position at Spotify, is it unreasonable to assume that the artists given priority for the week will also get priority on your wall, should one of your friends happen to listen to it on Spotify.
The problems with viral videos were that their growth was organic, it wasn’t really possible to buy a million meaningful plays on a youtube video. But now with Spotify and Facebook teaming up, could this be the start of manufacturing viral musical growth. Pushing the priorities to the fore, thus insuring their chances of catching fire.
Remember that time when the majors used to buy radio plays, storefront racking, and features in magazines? Well this is the birth of Major Labels 2.0, they are buying their way into your life and you wont even suspect a thing.
Indie artists can bemoan the diminutive payments that trickle through the Spotify system, but no one is really going to care. Spotify isn’t really about finding a legal alternative to piracy for ALL artists. Its sights are set far bigger than that, and far bigger than any indie artist or indie label that will pull it’s content as a result. Now that it has tapped into Facebooks 500 million plus users and become a featured priority, it would seem that the big boys, in the shape of the major labels, are back in town. Makes you wonder what Apple thinks of all this.
So then, looks like independent musicians are going to be chasing those major deals all over again, but in reality, isn’t that what the majority of artists really wanted all along?