Facebook Music Stumbles Out of the Gate
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Facebook, known to many as the “grown and sexy” version of MySpace, is slowly rolling out its music platform in order to compete with the dominant social networking giant. Although MySpace has twice as many members as Facebook, the smaller, scrappier site is actually adding subscribers at a faster rate, and many people in the industry thing that Facebook adding music could be a death knell in MySpace’s dominance in the market.
Unfortunately though, Facebook’s music leaves much to be desired. A quick look at Cee Lo’s music page shows that obvious pitfalls that a Facebook music site creates. Facebook has always been pretty stringent in its design standards, which is both good and bad. It’s great to be able to view someone’s profile without obtrusive images or music getting in the way. However, while Facebook works on a personal level, it completely fails from a music marketing standpoint. Case in point, compare the images of Cee-Lo’s (of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkey) Facebook page versus his MySpace page.
The close minded nature of Facebook design severely limits any fan of Cee-Lo to truly connect with him. Yes, there is a music player, which is highly intuitive and although simplistic, is better and less buggy than the one found on MySpace. However, there are several severe things that will hamper Facebook’s effort. Where are the blogs? Blogging has opened up a new avenue for fans to interact with their favorite artists. Where would you be without Phonte’s rants or Questlove’s recounts of police brutality? Facebook is highly known for its lack of blogging tools, so its no surprise that music artists won’t be able to blog as well. What about a calendar of shows, video, etc? They’re all lacking from Facebook.
Say what you will about MySpace, but its common sense interactive features put it miles ahead of Facebook in terms of music marketing. Facebook may gain some headway if reports of its deal with Apple’s iTunes comes true, but MySpace still looks to be the king of online music marketing for months to come.