Early Report: Facebook Music Isn’t Helping Artists Gain Fans

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The paint is still drying on ‘Facebook Music,’ but we’re already seeing a number of serious problems.

That includes a cobbled-together and disjointed group of partners, ‘over-sharing’ bugs, and a rather slapped-together Spotify integration.

But there’s a far more serious concern: according to one early finding, musicians aren’t gaining new fans from all the shared listening.  Instead, they’re just getting pass-through listeners, with paltry payouts, hard-to-quantify ‘awareness’ and questionable downstream benefit.  “Facebook is gaining compelling feed stories about listening habits and data it can monetize through ad targeting, all without returning the favor to musicians,” contends Inside Facebook’s Josh Constine.

Constine examined the number of new fans for twenty of the largest artists on Facebook, plus dozens of others.  And he found one glaring commonality: none of them were experienced fan spikes following the launch of Facebook Music.  “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,” Constine notes.

A typical example comes from Linkin Park, a band experiencing little impact following the high-profile launch.

The question is whether this can be fixed, or if integrated listening really impacts artist relationships.  Constine suggests a stronger integration of Like buttons, though users can already hover and become a fan without much friction.  “The simplest and probably the most effective way would be to add a prominent, one-click ‘Like this artist’ button to stories about listening activity,” Constine suggests, while offering mock-ups of a solution. “Musical artists and record labels should push Facebook to implement a better retention mechanism.”