With Teeth: Last FM – The Key To Quality In Social Music

Like a few people in digital marketing circles, I found myself reading the Spotify/Facebook integration announcements (and F8 in general) and asking myself one question: “Where are Last FM?”. After all, everything described in terms of the Facebook Music “what you play is detailed in your feed” apps brought one trademarked term to mind: scrobbling. It is what Last FM was built from, and what constitutes the core of its business ever since.

At the time, I recall seeing a few tweets to the effect of “Facebook and Spotify just stole Last FM’s business”. Evolver.fm, the site run by Echo Nest (itself a service with a few ex-Last FM staff working there) was quick to write a breakdown of Last FM’s strategic error: “Facebook Music’s biggest loser: Last FM“. I’ll even cop to the fact that I made similar remarks, believing that by staying away from this party Last FM may have signed its own death warrant.

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With Teeth: Are Facebook Pages still a valuable marketing platform for bands?

There can be no question that post-F8, the music industry has seen a healthy jump in revenues from streaming music services. In a matter of days, Spotify gained a million new users, and those users in turn streamed music which can only have hiked the payouts to labels.

But what of Facebook as a marketing platform for bands? The logic was simple: there are 800 million people on Facebook, over 50% of whom visit daily, all with an average of around 130 friends. So, engage your fans and you could have them sharing to friends via their News Feed, spreading word and extending the reach of your artist. It is the classic marketing funnel: capture a high number of users and engage them in a bid to convert a percentage to paying consumers.

Prior to the F8 announcements, some cracks in the value proposition were arguably starting to show. A Pagelever report claimed that only 3-7.5% of posts from Pages were being seen by fans. This came as a blow to some, who thought that communicating to your audience meant that 100% of them read and digested your message. For artists with good reach on Facebook though, the hard numbers were still compelling enough. If Rihanna posts an update to her 47.3 million fans, having around 3.3 million of them seeing your update is still a great result.

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