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Facebook's New Music Partnerships Don't Seem To Be Doing Much To Help Musicians

SAN FRANCISCO (Hypebot) — This post by Josh Constine comes via Inside Facebook, a leading source of news and analysis on Facebook’s global growth, corporate developments, and product innovations.

Facebook has yet to create an easy and obvious way for users to Like the Pages of musicians they listen to, costing artists significant marketing opportunities. Since the listening activity of Spotify, Rdio, and other music service users began being automatically shared to the social network late last month, Facebook Pages of musicians have not been gaining fans any faster.

Musical artists and record labels should push Facebook to implement a better retention mechanism that helps them convert listeners into fans who they can then reach with marketing updates through the news feed. This could come in the form of a Like button for an artist’s Page on feed stories about users listening to them, or a a “Recommended Musicians” panel that suggests users Like the artists they listen to most.

Until then, Facebook is gaining compelling feed stories about listening habits and data it can monetize through ad targeting without returning the favor to musicians.

Musicians Need Likes, Not Listens, to Make Money

Currently, to Like an artist they have been listening to, users have to find a story about their listening activity in the news feed, Ticker, or Timeline. The use can then click through the artist’s name to visit their Page and Like them. A lesser known method is to hover over the artist’s name and use the Like button in the hover card. The hidden buttons and high friction flows mean only users already intent on Liking an artist will become fans.

Facebook’s music partnerships are making some money for musicians by driving usage of streaming services that pay out royalties when an artist’s songs are streamed. However, these royalties can be just a fraction of a cent per listen. Artists depend on concert ticket and merchandise sales that Facebook’s music apps aren’t helping them increase directly.

Many artists use their Facebook Pages to promote their tours and merchandise lines in the news feed, but only fans receive these updates — not listeners. However, the 20 most popular musician Facebook Pages and the Pages of a dozen smaller artists we checked showed no increase in the rate of new Likes starting on September 22nd when the music partnerships launched. Therefore, it’s important that Facebook make it easier for users to Like the artists listen to.