The question now is whether this social currency translates into actual currency, ie, the kind you can spend.
“I think there’s a new currency that’s emerging in the music industry, which is how many people have shared a given song or a given artist on Facebook,” said Facebook vice president of Partnerships Dan Rose at Midem on Monday. “This currency is going to become the new way that people talk whether the music blowing up, and we’re just at the beginning of that now.”
This may not be ‘hard currency,’ though there’s certainly a lot of exchange. “We talked about 5 billion songs shared in the past four months, you can imagine that number’s going to grow exponentially over the next few months and years.”
But is Facebook a genuine platform for discovery, or just an echo chamber of already-popular music? Um… “It’s not necessarily surprising, but when we looked at the top hundred songs shared on Facebook at the end of last year, what we found is alot of those same songs that you’d find if you looked at a Billboard chart,” Rose continued. “But artists that aren’t as famous globally but have local pockets of fans showed up on there, and one of those artists was Skrillex, and that’s why we used them in our example here.”
Actually, Skrillex scored two of the top-10 most-played songs on Facebook in 2011, according to the New York Times. “It’s not just reinforcing the same songs that everybody’s listening to, it’s going to enable new artists and new music to be discovered in ways that have never been possible before at scale.”