Tag Archives: facebook

Spotify on Facebook: An In-Depth Review

Love it or hate it, Spotify is now firmly embedded within social network behemoth Facebook. The integration is so deep that new Spotify users are required to have a Facebook login to access Spotify. This upset a lot of people but for me it’s not really a problem:

  • I already have a Spotify account (and I’ve not been forced to switch this to a Facebook one),
  • I already have a Facebook account,
  • There are many other services I subscribe to that use Facebook as the login mechanism.

Granted most other services do give you the choice (create a new account or use your Facebook login), but since I’ve long since given up the utopian idea of privacy, using Facebook to login to Spotify is just another concession in exchange for free services.


Spotify Loves Social Facebook

Logging in to Spotify for the first time now gives you this popup message:

Ticked by default is the option to “Get personal recommendations by sending music you play to Facebook’s Open Graph.” The phrasing of this is slightly confusing and even misleading. Most people won’t know what “Facebook’s Open Graph” is and the promise of personal recommendations has yet to materialize in any meaningful way. Instead, what this really means is Scrobble to Facebook – in other words, it wants you to allow Facebook to keep a log of every song you listen to and to post it on your timeline for all your friends to see.

Now this is the second big change that resulted in a fairly substantial backlash from users. At a stroke, Spotify as good as opted every user in to publicly publishing every song you listen to and for many people this felt like a step too far.

As a seasoned user of Last.fm, the idea of publishing the songs I listen to is second nature to me. I love being able to easily see what my most-listened to artists were last year, for example, and have become so used to “scrobbling” that when I listen to, say, a CD in the car I feel slightly anxious that it’s not being logged. This record of my musical likes is the cornerstone to recommendations and has led to many social interactions and friendships with people who have similar musical tastes.

So I instantly saw the potential when Spotify enabled this in Facebook. It may spell the death of Last.fm which would be a shame, but it opens up sharing and comparison possibilities with many of my musical friends who never bothered registering on Last.fm.

The backlash saw no sign of abating though, which led Spotify to take the unprecedented move to rush out a hot-fix called Private Listening (enable it from the File menu, but note it resets every time you restart Spotify). This puts Spotify in “stealth mode” and blocks your plays from being recorded by both Facebook and Last.fm. The tech and music press approved (“now you can hide your embarrassing love of Rick Astley/The Spice Girls/Noel Gallagher/Insert Music Prejudice Here“) and users now have the option to avoid spamming their friends.

Personally I think disabling your plays would be a shame: you’d miss out on recording a rich archive of your musical tastes throughout the years, you’d lose the ability to see which of your friends enjoy the same music, and the complaint of spamming your friends is overstated. Facebook’s new Top Story algorithm favors status updates over “what I listened to,” and I don’t know about you but my Recent Stories stream is already full of my friend’s YouTube and SoundCloud likes anyway.

So what do you actually see in Facebook once you’re up and running with Spotify?


Spotify on Facebook: What It Looks Like

Here’s a snapshot of my Facebook “Recent Stories” stream:

I can see that my friend Johan listened to some St. Vincent. I can click the little play buttons to listen too: the track instantly starts playing in my Spotify. I can click to pause the track without having to go to my Spotify client and I can click the “See More Songs” link to view the rest of the playlist.

My friends can see that I listened to some De/Vision, and I can see that two other people also clicked and listened. This is a great feature I reckon: I’ve found it really useful to see who enjoys the same kind of music as me and it’s already led to some fun discussions through the Comment feature.

Perhaps less useful is the Facebook live stream everyone now has in the sidebar on the right. This Twitter-clone logs every single track played by all my friends in a constantly updating stream of uselessness. You can mouse-over an update here to display Spotify play buttons, and if you then mouse-over an artist name another pop-up displays to tell you which of your friends also “liked” that artist. But the sidebar is so full of every single Like, Comment and other kipple that I’ve already learned to block it from my field of view. I’m sure Facebook will improve this in the future (by adding some personalization options for example) but for now it’s mostly just noise.

When I start to listen to a song on Spotify (both on the desktop and on mobile) my Facebook Music activity is instantly updated like this:

My friends can see that I’m listening to a track from the new Autodafeh album. It’ll appear on their sidebar straight away, and is grouped together in the Recent Stories stream once I’ve listened to a few tracks from the same playlist. It doesn’t matter how much of the song I’ve listened to: I could listen to only the first second and it is still logged and displayed. Last.fm usually scrobbles a track once you’ve listened to at least half of it, which I think is a much better way to handle updates.

On your Timeline you’ll begin to see monthly summaries like this:

This shows Top Artists and Top Playlists for each month, with mouse-over buttons appearing for you to listen again. Note that the number of listens is track-based, so when it says “7 listens” for Afront’s Electronica 1990s playlist above, that means I listened to seven tracks in that playlist and not that I listened to the playlist seven times. Also note that every playlist has the Spotify green square here, whereas an album mosaic is used for timeline updates:

The mosaic is much more useful and copies how the playlist looks in the Spotify client, so it’s a shame it’s not used in the monthly summary section.

Clicking the Music link shows you a page dedicated to music, with sections for Top Songs, Albums, Artists and Playlists. At the top is the “All Time” view with individual updates and monthly summaries following down the timeline.

Every track, album and playlist listed here can be re-played with the click of a button, and as with all sections in Facebook you have the option to hide what you want from your public timeline. This page clearly takes much of its inspiration from Last.fm, although it does currently lack some of the finesse of that service.


Spotify on Facebook: What It Doesn’t Do

Remember at the start you agreed to “Get personal recommendations”? Well for the life of me I’m unable to find any kind of music recommendation in Facebook yet. I think I did see one artist recommended to me at the start, but since I switched to Facebook’s new-style timeline view I’ve not seen anything. Given that music discovery was supposed to be one of the key features of the Spotify-Facebook marriage, its absence is a glaring omission.

Another disappointment is the lack of an embedded player: to listen to any of the Spotify music you still need to have the Spotify client installed on your desktop. Since I’m not allowed to install apps on the PC I use at work, I had hoped that an embedded web-based player would have allowed me to give up Spotify’s mediocre Android mobile app but that was not to be.

In the lead-up to the Spotify/Facebook announcement it was fully expected that Facebook Music would allow cross-service listening. So, for example, if I posted a link to a track on Spotify, a friend who didn’t have Spotify but did have, say, MOG would still be able to listen to the song, since Facebook would translate the link on-the-fly to work in my friend’s preferred service. This was not to be however; Facebook’s music service partners remain siloed and independent of each other.

Finally, the initial Facebook+Spotify demonstration showed that you could “listen along with friends” in a way not too dissimilar to Turntable.fm and its clones. So you could arrange a listening party and all your friends could listen along at the same time and discuss the music together in real-time. I’ve not seen this in Facebook yet, so I assume it was dropped from the initial launch. Hopefully this cool feature will be added soon.


Everybody Loves Facebook

A “joke” that went around Twitter recently was this:

Q: What do you get when add Spotify to Facebook?

A: Facebook.

In a way that sums up the changes but perhaps misses the point. Spotify is now further integrated into Facebook than ever before, but you still need the standalone player and (login issues aside) you can still carry on using Spotify and ignore Facebook completely. The Facebook login requirement was probably part of the deal to allow Spotify center-stage at the f8 announcement event (you may not have realized it but MOG, Deezer, Rhapsody and SoundCloud were all also “integrated” into Facebook at the same time) and I suspect Facebook may also be sharing some of the added royalty costs to cover the alleged one million new users gained.

When I first tried out the new features I admit I was a little underwhelmed. It seemed that all they’d done was to add some play buttons to shared playlists (and you could already share playlists to Facebook from Spotify before the change). But now that I’ve used it for a week I’m beginning to see lots of benefits and handy extended social features, and the Last.fm-killing Music Dashboard starts to come into its own once you have some content in there.

So yeah, I like it.


Spotify’s Summer of Rumors (UPDATED)

There seems to be more than the usual amount of Spotify rumors flying around this summer: I guess that’s what results from a big cash injection and slow news days at the tech sites. Here at The Pansentient League we usually wait until there are at least two independent sources of a story before we report it, but I thought it might be fun to post a round-up of the current speculation.


Spotify to Launch in US – CONFIRMED!!!

The rumor that just keeps on giving, I’ve lost count of the amount of times a tech site has proclaimed they have inside sources confirming Spotify will launch in the USA soon. “Spotify US Launch Is Just Days Away” said siliconvalleywatcher.com back in June, for example. TechCrunch got so fed up with these false news stories that they used it as the basis for a joke post at the end of 2010.  But Spotify have offices and staff in New York and so the US launch really is just a matter of time. Spotify VP Jonathan Forster recently saidWe won’t launch before July 5th” and that “We’re signing the remaining deals as I speak.” These are the quotes that led to all the Mid-July launch stories you might have read.


Spotify to Launch in Denmark

The latest country to get the Spotify Speculation treatment is Denmark. Apparently Spotify and KODA (the Danish collecting society for songwriters, composers and music publishers) have been in negotiations for over a year and this is now nearing completion.


Spotify to Launch in Belgium

Spotify will soon be available in Belgium,” claimed De Standaard.be a few days ago. They state that De Morgen is reporting that Spotify is negotiating with Belgacom and Telenet about who will offer the service, although checking the De Morgen website only leads to story from April about how “Spotify has no interest in the Belgian market.”


Spotify Music on Facebook

We’ve already posted “Spotify and Facebook: the story so far.” Forbes’ Parmy Olson reported at the end of May 2011 that Spotify would be embedded in Facebook and that this “could be launched in as little as two weeks.” She obviously got her timeline wrong, but Facebook’s announcement that it will “launch something awesome” this week has re-fueled this speculation.


Spotify to Power Virgin Media – CONFIRMED!!!

Another rumor that’s been rumbling on for a while now is that Spotify are negotiating with Virgin Media to power their music service. “Virgin Media set to partner with Spotifyclaimed The Telegraph back in October 2010. Last week the Guardian wrote that “Virgin Media close to deal to pave way for digital music service” stating that a deal has now been agreed in principle. They claim trials will begin this summer with a country-wide rollout by the end of the year.


Spotify to Launch a Spaceship

My favorite rumor is the one started by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek himself. Back in April, Ek tweeted that “Spotify is launching a space rocket” (note the shameless out-of-context thing I did there 😉 Of  course that was Ek’s joke to highlight how ludicrous media speculation around Spotify can be, but I would point to one Sir Richard Branson, another former music industry genius who now really has launched spaceships



Spotify on Facebook: The Story So Far

Parmy Olson (a reporter at respected American business site Forbes.com) this week published an article claiming that Facebook were imminently going to launch a music service with Spotify. The net quickly exploded with repeats of this rumor, which to date neither Facebook or Spotify has confirmed or denied. Here’s the story so far…

August 2009

Facebook investor Li Ka-Shing buys stake in Spotify [guardian.co.uk]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg updates his Facebook status with “Spotify is so good.” [TechCrunch]

April 2010

Spotify launches Spotify Social, with deep Facebook integration [spotify.com]

You can now connect to Facebook inside of Spotify, instantly adding all your Facebook friends who’ve selected the same feature. Your friends’ profiles will appear in a new ‘People’ sidebar at the right of the screen, with your personal profile at the top.

June 2010

Mark Zuckerberg visits London and says “The new version of Spotify is really pretty amazing… I’m using it so much more.” [TechCrunch]

July 2010

Spotify blogs “We’ve been fans of Facebook for a long time now.” [spotify.com]

October 2010

Facebook’s first president Sean Parker (who is a managing partner at Spotify investor The Founders Fund and sits on the board at Spotify) claims that “Spotify will finish the job Napster started.” [venturebeat.com]


May 25, 2011

Parmy Olson reports on Forbes: Facebook To Launch Music Service With Spotify. This is quickly picked up by all the heavyweight tech sites, including Engadget, Wired and Mashable. [forbes.com]

At the e-G8 conference in Paris, Mark Zuckerberg states that “We don’t have the DNA to be a music company or a movie company.” [gigaom.com]

At the same event, Sean Parker says “I think that there is a pretty dramatic change in the way music is monetised that is on the cusp of happening.” [ft.com]

Sophie Cazaux (PR Manager at Spotify France) and Jim Butcher (Spotify Head of Communications) reply to requests for comment with the following. [musically.com]

We have a good relationship with Facebook in that we have done an integration on Facebook Platform that has been valuable in terms of driving engagement with the Spotify service. We’re continuously working together to make the social experience on Spotify the best it can be and welcome relationships with any company looking to innovate by building more social value into the user experience.

May 26, 2011

More and more sites pick up on the story, some gently tweaking it to imply that it was an actual announcement from Facebook and Spotify. However, Mike Butcher at TechCrunch dismisses the rumor. [TechCrunch]

There’s no sign – as far as we can see – of Spotify streaming inside Facebook in the next two weeks, because there is no sign of a US launch for the music startup until it has at least two more record labels on board. And even then, a Facebook deal would be some time after that, if at all.

As the day progresses, yet more sites carry the story. Few have anything additional to add, but Hunter Skipworth at pocket-lint cheekily coins the term “Spacebook” and Andrew Orlowski at The Register spends time to consider wider implications. Duncan Geere at wired.co.uk generally agrees with TechCrunch that Spotify only has eyes for America.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at Spotify HQ…



Spotibot: Spotify Music Recommendation on Twitter

I meant to blog about this a few weeks ago but got distracted… anyway, if you’re on Twitter and haven’t seen this, check out Spotibot.

Spotibot is “your personal, unofficial Spotify buddy, powered by Audioscrobbler!” It’s an impressive Twitter-based music recommendation service that has recently grown to include other non-Twitter features.

If you’re on Twitter, all you do is send a message starting @spotibot similar to then add the name of an artist artist:

Spotibot then uses Audioscrobbler to determine a related artist, checks this against the artists on Spotify, then after a few minutes replies back to you with a suggestion and a Spotify link:

It works really well, and you can even ask it about the same artist again and will receive a different recommendation. It’s not perfect though: Audioscrobbler might not fully understand musical similarities so you’ll get an artist who’s not quite like what you expected, and some results from Spotibot give the inevitable “This album is currently not available” message in Spotify, but it’s a great Twitter tool that’s already introduced me to several new bands.

The links returned by Spotibot are an enhanced version of the regular open.spotify links, including album art, label detail, how many tracks, when it was added to Spotify, and an option to share on FaceBook. Here’s what one looks like (click the image to see the actual webpage):

Developer Andy Smith says that he’s still working on Spotibot and adding new features which is great news as I think Spotibot is an excellent example of mashing up multiple services into one neat tool.

Spotify on Facebook

As Spotify passes the one million user mark in the UK, here’s a look at Spotify pages, groups, and applications on Facebook.

Spotify Pages

Facebook has several Spotify pages, but there’s really only one you need:

  • Spotify – 176,464 fans. This is the official product page. It duplicates posts made on the Spotify blog and receives a dozen or so comments for each post.

Spotify Applications

  • Mixifier (Spotify mixtapes) – 136 monthly active users. Mixifier lets you share your favourite playlists by sending a “mixtape” to your friends in Facebook. Also see the Mixifier website.
  • Spotify Playlists – 726 monthly active users. Another playlist sharing app.
  • Spyfi – 27 monthly active users. Another playlist sharing app.

Spotify Groups

There are now over 500 Spotify-related groups on Facebook. Below are some of the most-subscribed ones (excluding the “I hate XXX from Spotify” ones):

  • Spotify Playlists – 5,822 members. Share your Spotify playlists and get fresh, innovative playlists back from all corners of the world. The most-subscribed Spotify playlist sharing group on Facebook, this one has over 600 wall posts. Founder Paul also runs a blog where he posts playlists and writes about music distribution.
  • Vi vill ha Spotify för film – 25,379 members. “We Want Spotify for Film” is a Swedish-only group with the aim of showing support for version of Spotify for film and TV.
  • Rädda Spotify – 3,279 members. “Save Spotify” is a Swedish-only Spotify group with the apparent aim of persuading the record labels to sign-up for Spotify.
  • Spotify in the States – 800 members. A group designed to show support for Spotify in the USA as well as other countries where Spotify is yet to deploy. The group has several discussion topics and a very active wall.
  • Save Spotify – the future of online media – 1,309 members. Group created in the wake of the news that sometimes Spotify has to remove tracks from some countries occasionally. No wall posts for a couple of months now.
  • Slutet för Spotify? Nu får det vara nog! – 380 members. “The end of Spotify? Enough is enough!” – Swedish-only group. Apparently similar to the Save Spotify group, this one also hasn’t had a post since February.