Facebook now lets users share music, listen to 30-second song snippets

Finally, a way to share music online.

Facebook announced today a new post format called Music Stories. It syncs with streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music to let users listen to 30-second snippets of songs without leaving the social network.

The option is pretty straightforward: Grab the album link from the respective music app, open the Facebook app, paste the link the same way you would with a status update and it auto-populates a preview.

For now, it only works on iOS with Android capability coming soon. Here it is in action:

There’s also a button on the faux album to direct people to the respective streaming network it was shared from so it can be listened to in full.

“We hope by making this experience better, artists will share more, friends will share and engage more, and music will become a better part of the Facebook experience overall,” writes Facebook’s director of product Michael Cerda.

For now, Facebook is a content company without owning the actual content, said Mark Mulligan, a music analyst with Midia Research. “It knows that it can get most of its use the benefits from being the conduit for far less cost and hassle than being a licensed service,” he told Digiday, adding that whether if listening to short snippets “actually adds any value” is a completely different question.

Experience with music is something that Facebook has struggled with. Its latest major implementation with music came in 2011, when it integrated users’ playlists from Spotify into the News Feed. The hope, Spotify said at the time, was to “help everyone to discover more free music than ever before.” But in reality, it just annoyed a lot of people, and the feature was eventually dialed back.

The Facebook move is likely just the beginning of more music integrated into the social network. The Verge reported in July that Facebook was in talks with several labels to perhaps build a streaming service or something altogether different.

Recode mentioned that Facebook could move into distributing music videos, an area controlled by its chief competitor, Google-owned YouTube. With the labels’ deals set to end with YouTube next year, Facebook is becoming a “plausible place for them to go with their videos.”

Perhaps Facebook wants to add “jukebox” into its long list of capabilities so people never, ever want to leave it.

Images via Facebook.


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