Wednesday, February 01, 2012

MIDEM 2012: What does 'sharing' actually mean

Facebook trumpet round the MIDEM conference with a huge number:

The 2012 Midem Music Conference has brought new data to light about the Facebook Music experience which launched last Fall: over 5 billion songs have been shared via Facebook as a total count since they launched the Facebook Music thing last year at the f8 conference.
Five Billion is certainly a number with a lot of zeroes. But what does this "sharing" actually constitute?

Sharing used to mean making a song available - borrowing (or, if you were an executive stealing) an actual track.

This five billion might include some people clicking on links to hear a song, but mostly just means billions of little blips of data floating up the side of the screen, mostly ignored.

Spacelab is starry-eyed:
What's more, the Facebook music sharing data shows a wholly different group of songs than what you'll find on the Top 40.
Really? Wholly different?
"When we looked at the top 100 songs shared on Facebook, it was a lot of the same songs you would discover if you looked on a Billboard chart. Some artists aren't as famous globally but have local artists with pockets of fans. One example is Skrillex. [He's] not necessarily a top 10 artist, but two of [his] songs [were on our chart.] So that's one of the really powerful things about this. It's not just reinforcing the same songs everybody's listening to, but enabling artists to be discovered in ways that were never possible before at scale," said Facebook's VP of partnerships Dan Rose to Billboard editorial director Bill Werde in a keynote Q&A Monday.
So that's "wholly different" in the sense of "mostly identical, except for a few cases.

(And don't you love the idea that Skrillex is some sort of out-there act who you wouldn't come across without Facebook?)

It's clear Facebook haven't really thought through their pitch - if it's not about reinforcing the same songs everyone listens to, then what's the point of a top 100 listing?

As with most things it touches, Facebook don't offer anything particularly valuable or inventive, and rely just on scale.

Still, five billion has a lot of noughts in it.