Facebook is already a fairly popular place for new musicians to strut their stuff online, but the Menlo Park company is reportedly in talks to deepen its relationship with the music world and bring the fight to YouTube. For an entity like Facebook, music is a natural target in the fight to increase the number of ad revenue streams, but music industry representatives say that they have an uphill battle ahead of them. Facebook would have to shore up deals with the complex network of managers, labels, and musicians out there, and would of course have to have some sort of anti-piracy measure in place. Even once that is all taken care of, there's still the question of how to get people to listen to music on Facebook. Despite the complexities, executives from Facebook sat in on a pre-show for the Grammys featuring a great deal of new talent, and talked with music industry executives about the possibility of getting into the business.
The music industry is not entirely friendly to the tech world, despite music streaming fast becoming one of the most popular methods for people to get their auditory fix. They have lobbed complaint after complaint at YouTube, whose business model with music Facebook would essentially be seeking to emulate; this would mean that Facebook's success or failure in the space, should they be able to get plans off the ground, would rely on their ability to bring their distinct flavor to music, and to serve both users and labels better than YouTube currently does.
While there are a number of caveats, the raw potential is huge. Facebook may well provide a sizable new revenue stream for the music industry, boasting a user base over one billion strong worldwide. Done right, a service through Facebook could not only attract new blood to the site and bring old blood to a new revenue source, but could make a significant dent in the current music scene by disrupting the streaming services that are looming large over the landscape at the moment. Another benefit of Facebook finding a new focus on music would be musicians, managers, and labels being able to engage directly and quickly with fans in a way that competitors like YouTube can't match. The same could be said of new talent, and on that note, Facebook may be able to attract more of it by offering them a bigger slice of the pie than YouTube, a platform where many users currently resort to third party services like Patreon to make their living. The potential for a move into music to go horribly wrong is certainly real for Facebook, as is the potential for things to go completely right and turn the entire industry on its head. Right now, though, things are in the earliest of stages and we likely won't be seeing any big moves for quite some time.