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Facebook’s Music Stories allows iPhone users to share snippets on News Feeds

Facebook unveiled a new feature in its iOS app that will integrate 30-second clips of songs from streamers like Spotify and Apple Music on News Feeds. Called Music Stories, the feature allows users to stream clips directly from their feeds, follow links to add songs to their Apple Music or Spotify accounts, and purchase the song via iTunes.

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To use Music Stories, users simply click “share song” on the streaming service of their choice and then paste the link to their status on Facebook’s iOS app. The social network will then format it to play a 30-second preview. When the song pops up on a friend’s News Feed, he or she can play the 30-second clip directly on Facebook before being prompted to stream more music through the third-party streamer or to purchase the track from iTunes.

“We hope by making this experience better, artists will share more, friends will share and engage more, and music will become a better part of the Facebook experience overall,” said Facebook director of product Michael Cerda in a company blog post.

We’re introducing “Music Stories” today to enable better music discovery and sharing on Facebook. The new post format allows people to listen to previews on Facebook from Apple Music and Spotify. You can read more about it on Facebook for Media: http://media.fb.com/blog

Posted by Music on Facebook on Thursday, November 5, 2015

While the addition of Apple Music and Spotify make for a good start, if you’re a subscriber to Rdio, Tidal, Google Play Music, or Amazon Prime Music, you’re out of luck – for the moment. Cerda said Facebook will add Music Story support for more streamers “soon.”

It’s hard to know how things played out, but Music Stories may be the result of rumors that Facebook was looking into “some type of music integration” after denying that it was developing its own music streamer over the summer. It’s also unclear if and when the feature will be added to other platforms, such as Android. And, while the addition of Apple Music and Spotify make for a good start, if you’re a subscriber to Rdio, Tidal, Google Play Music, or Amazon Prime Music, you’re out of luck – for the moment. Cerda said Facebook will add Music Story support for more streamers “soon.”

The move to connect music and Facebook has been at least four years in the making. In May 2011, it was rumored that Facebook was starting a streaming service with Spotify which would allow fans to listen to music with their friends on Facebook, simultaneously. That streaming service never materialized, but the partnership led to Spotify requiring a Facebook login and Facebook allowing users to listen to music with their friends in a group chat.

If you think the Music Stories format seems vaguely familiar, you might be right. Last year, Twitter launched Audio Cards, which allows users to listen to music streaming services within the official Twitter app. So far, Soundcloud and Rhapsody are the only third-party music streaming services part of Audio Cards, and the feature has essentially been all but forgotten.

Finding a working connection between social media and music is a legitimate aspiration, considering social media’s inextricable relationship with music has only strengthened since the olden days of streaming music on Myspace. In 2010, Billboard created the Social 50 chart which ranks artists weekly by how many new followers, friends, song plays, and page views they accumulate. Social media campaigns can now mean the difference between launching a hit song and one that flops.

But, with music streaming activity now directly translating into album and song sales, Facebook’s Music Stories could be the missing link everyone’s after, leading to a lucrative partnership between the music industry and the social network currently claiming $1.4 billion monthly from mobile users.

Updated 11/6/2015 by Christina Majaski: This piece was updated to add more background about the evolution of Music Stories.