Facebook’s experimental-apps team launches Aux music app

Facebook has launched a dedicated music app! But hold your horses: Aux is the work of the social network’s ‘NPE Team’ division, which was created in July this year to work on experimental new apps. “A way for Facebook to develop new types of experiences for people and to try different ideas by creating small, focused apps in order […]

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg sets out stall on ‘free expression’

He may not have mentioned music, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University yesterday is essential reading for anyone who’s interested in how the social network’s upper echelons view the world. Titled ‘Standing For Voice and Free Expression’, it focuses on some of the many controversies around what kind of free speech Facebook […]

Major payment companies back out of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency

Back in June, Facebook announced that it was going to launch its own cryptocurrency – Libra. The news resulted in the classic mixed results. Some focused on the fact that it would change the financial shape of markets where bank accounts and traditional payments systems are not the norm. Some, notably the FT, picked apart its […]

Mark Zuckerberg on TikTok competition: ‘This is a real thing’

Leaked audio from an internal Facebook meeting where CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions from staff has been making headlines – mainly around his promise of a “fight” if politicians try to break his company up. But for Music Ally’s purposes, Zuckerberg’s comments on TikTok are also interesting. “TikTok… is really the first consumer internet product built […]

Facebook reveals new plans for social VR (oh, and AR too)

With Amazon’s blizzard of new-product announcements, not to mention the political ructions going on in the US, Facebook’s Oculus division’s OC6 developer conference might have struggled for attention. It’s well worth reading up on the announcements made at the show though: it’s an excellent snapshot of Facebook’s continued ambitions for virtual AND augmented reality technology. […]

Report claims that Facebook could start hiding ‘like’ counts

Social networks are trying to row back on some of the unintended consequences of their key mechanics, with ‘likes’ (or at least the public display of how many times posts have been liked) particularly under the microscope. Instagram has been testing hiding likes in some countries, and now it seems Facebook – which popularised the […]

Spotify can now share 15-second music clips to Facebook stories

The ability to share songs to ‘stories’ posts on Instagram has become a regular announcement by the various streaming services. Now Spotify is improving its integration with Facebook’s stories feature, by adding the actual music. “Today, we’re rolling out a more powerful way to connect with fans on Facebook Stories — with 15-second song previews,” announced Spotify […]

Vroom! Rick Ross gets his own racing game on Facebook

Is Facebook gaming still a thing? After a decade of ignoring Music Ally’s FarmVille farm, we don’t dare log back in to find out what became of our crops and animals. But yes, Facebook gaming IS still a thing: the social network’s catalogue of ‘instant games’ now sits within a dedicated gaming tab on the […]

Facebook reportedly working on new Instagram spin-off: Threads

It always sounds like big news when Facebook is ‘secretly’ working on a new standalone app, but experience has taught us that such apps often end up quietly shutting down – perhaps useful for experimental purposes, but not exactly making a dent in the mobile-social landscape. Slingshot, Riff, Rooms, Moments… Anyway, that’s useful context not […]

Billie Eilish to play a virtual-reality gig in Oculus Venues

Billie Eilish is the latest artist playing a concert that will be streamed in virtual reality. The gig will take place on 3 September in Madrid, and then later that evening will be broadcast in Facebook’s ‘Oculus Venues’ app for its Oculus Go and Oculus Quest headsets. The concert is the result of a partnership with startup […]

eMarketer says teens are ditching Facebook in France and Germany

It feels like people have been predicting a ‘teen flight’ from Facebook for years now – probably because they have. eMarketer is the latest research firm trying to back up the theory with some actual data, this time based on France and Germany. It claims that this year, the total number of Facebook users in France […]

Slipknot fans can wear the band’s masks (virtually on Facebook)

Given the sweat Slipknot must work up during a performance, you wouldn’t catch us putting our nose anywhere near one of the band’s famous masks. Virtually, however… The latter is what fans can do now, courtesy of a set of Facebook Camera effects. There are 10 masks to try: nine based on the latest ones […]

Facebook reveals latest financials… and an FTC antitrust probe

“We had a strong quarter and our business and community continue to grow,” was the lead statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last night, as his company revealed its latest impressive financial results. Revenues were up 28% year-on-year to $16.62bn in the second quarter of 2019, with the social network reporting a $2.62bn profit for the […]

Report: Facebook to be fined $5bn in FTC privacy settlement

There is no shortage of snark around claims – originally published in the Wall Street Journal – that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a $5bn settlement with Facebook over the social network’s “privacy missteps”. The snark concerns just how much of a punishment a $5bn fine represents for a company that in the first […]

Facebook to launch more money-making features for creators

Facebook has announced a range of new ways for ‘creators’ to make money from their activity on the social network. While aimed mainly at YouTubers and other social stars, some of them may well be useful for musicians too. They include the expansion of a feature called ‘stars’ from gaming streams, which are akin to […]

MelodyVR reveals content-licensing deal with Facebook

It’s a busy time for music-VR startup MelodyVR, with its smartphone app having just launched. Now it has announced an intriguing content-licensing deal… with Facebook. “The agreement will see MelodyVR’s content utilised by Facebook/Oculus for advertising purposes and licenses its exploitation across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and via the Oculus Website, for a period of 9 […]

Social media newsfeeds are dying. What’s the future of sharing? (guest column)

This guest column comes from Tim Heineke, founder and CEO of I AM POP. Social media, the poster child of the internet revolution, is losing its influence to such an extent that even Mark Zuckerberg has accepted the decline of the newsfeed. Is this, as Zuckerberg suggests, simply an issue of users becoming wary of […]

Facebook and Instagram expand their music features to Brazil

Facebook hasn’t just been rolling out UGC-focused music features across its apps in the last year: it has also been expanding those features regularly to new markets. The latest is Brazil, where Facebook and Instagram users can now share music in their videos and posts, as well as using Facebook’s Lip Sync Live feature. “In […]

Spotify CEO says Libra currency could help listeners ‘pay artists directly’

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new blockchain-powered currency called Libra, and a digital wallet for it called Calibra. Spotify was among the companies backing the plans by becoming a founder member of the independent Libra Association. Now Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has been talking about his hopes for Libra, including the suggestion that it […]

Questions and criticism emerge for Facebook’s Libra currency

Facebook launching its own global currency was bound to provoke some criticism, and some close scrutiny of exactly what the social network is planning and how it will work. Three pieces are worth your attention today to understand how the initiative – backed by Spotify, as we reported earlier in the week – is being […]

Spotify explains why it’s backing Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency

The recent leaks were correct: music-streaming Spotify is on board as one of the first backers of Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency. The social network will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020, complete with a wallet developed by the company’s new Calibra subsidiary. And backing all this is The Libra Association, which Facebook says will […]

Report claims Spotify is backing Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

Facebook has quietly (bar the odd leak) been working on its own cryptocurrency initiative for some time now. Reports suggest it will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 17 June), complete with a consortium of partners offering governance for Facebook’s new coin, called The Libra Association. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that financial firms including […]

Facebook Watch videos attract 140m daily active users

Facebook has published an update on Facebook Watch, the section of the social network devoted to premium videos. “We launched Watch globally less than a year ago, and there are now more than 720 million people monthly and 140 million people daily who spend at least one minute in Watch. On average, the daily visitors spend more […]

Facebook to launch new models of its Portal smart display

Facebook launched its first Portal smart speakers – or rather, smart displays, since they came with screens – in October 2018. The 10 and 15-inch screened devices went on sale first in the US, using Amazon’s Alexa for their voice-control features, with support for Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio on the music-streaming side. Facebook hasn’t yet announced […]

New Avicii album will be premiered in Oculus’ virtual reality

The late dance star Avicii (Tim Bergling) is getting his first posthumous album release this year: ‘TIM’. Facebook has announced that its Oculus virtual-reality division will be running a premiere of the new album on 6 June, through its Oculus Venues app. “We’re honoured to partner with Avicii Music and Geffen Records to bring the […]

Facebook warns that its new privacy tool ‘may impact targeting’

From unintended consequences of its core features to deliberate abuses of the way it made users’ data available to developers, Facebook is firefighting on several fronts in 2019. It should come as no surprise that its attempts to pivot to what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls a “privacy-focused social platform” are going to have an effect […]

Facebook co-founder argues that the company should be broken up

There have been a few calls from prominent figures in recent months for Facebook (and other tech giants) to be broken up. The latest person suggesting this fate for the social network is its own co-founder though: Chris Hughes, who worked on Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg in its earliest days at Harvard. In an op-ed for […]

Facebook boosts original content in its rankings

For a number of years, in part to try and steal a march on YouTube, Facebook has been encouraging native uploads from creators (i.e. posting videos straight to Facebook rather than linking to external sites). Now it is courting filmmakers and saying that it will, over the coming months, add “a series of ranking updates” for videos. […]

Facebook f8 event kicks off with more privacy promises

There will be plenty of sceptics scoffing at their keyboards today, when they catch sight of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in front of a big ‘The future is private.” slogan. The image is from his keynote at Facebook’s f8 developer conference yesterday, which saw the company doubling down on its new-found enthusiasm for privacy. “Over […]

Facebook financials strong despite looming multi-billion fine

Facebook’s latest quarterly financials show the company’s business rolling on, with revenues up 26% year-on-year to $15.1bn in the first quarter of 2018, and a net profit of $2.43bn. The latter figure is down from $4.99bn a year ago, but consider this: Facebook’s latest net income factors in a $3bn legal expense – money set aside […]

Facebook is working on its own Alexa-style voice assistant

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal interest in AI voice-assistants is well known: in 2016 his personal mission for the year was building an AI ‘butler’ named Jarvis. Now the social network is working on a voice assistant to serve its 2.32bn users around the world. CNBC was first to report on the plans yesterday, claiming that a team […]

Report details Facebook’s last ’15 months of fresh hell’

Bring popcorn – and a cushion to hide behind for the worst details – for Wired magazine’s deep, deep dive into ’15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook’, which was published yesterday. “Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Here’s how that turned out,” is […]

Former Facebook Portal designer working on Renaissance startup

Sometimes we spot a new music/tech startup on investment site AngelList with not much information on what it’s doing, but the people involved will make us prick our ears up. Renaissance is the latest example. The US startup has an interesting tagline – “What happened in 1300AD will happen again, soon” – and it’s listed in […]

Esperanza Spalding drove fans from Facebook / Instagram to Spotify

Facebook has published a case study of how artist Esperanza Spalding used the social network (and Instagram) to drum up excitement around her latest album ’12 Little Spells’ – including driving Spotify streams of it. “The roll-out included premiering each music video on Facebook and IGTV, talking to fans through comments and Facebook Live and converting the […]

Mark Zuckerberg calls for more regulation of the internet

Governments and regulators should be doing more to make internet companies like Facebook accountable for their impact on free speech and society more generally… says Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, the social network’s CEO is trying to get in ahead of, well, the governments and regulators who want more oversight of his company, by stressing that he […]

Instagram co-founder isn’t sold on big-tech breakup plans

Of all the things Facebook could have done in response to Democrat politician Elizabeth Warren’s suggestion that it should be broken up for abuse of its power, temporarily blocking the Facebook ads that she’d booked to promote her plan was probably the most foolish. The social network claimed it was because “they violated our policies against use […]

Elizabeth Warren’s big-tech breakup could affect music-streaming

We’ll be honest: there are lots of reasons that US Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren thinks the biggest technology companies should be broken up: and none of them are directly about what the benefits might be for music listeners, artists and the music industry. But given the ongoing debate about ‘platform-to-business’ regulation – how the […]

Mark Zuckerberg says privacy is Facebook’s new watchword

Facebook’s relationship with privacy? It’s complicated, although critics of the company (like Tim Cook, who’s just been rebranded by Donald Trump as ‘Tim Apple’) might use a few other words. Yet after a bruising period of controversies surrounding privacy and user-data on its platform, Facebook appears to be pulling something of a pivot. “As I think […]

Terms revealed for Facebook’s fan-subscriptions feature

Facebook is launching a ‘Fan Subscription’ feature where creators (including, potentially, musicians) will be able to charge fans for access to some of their content. Now the terms of the deals that creators will be expected to sign have been revealed, in a document leaked to TechCrunch. It shows that Facebook will take up to 30% […]

Artist Nils Frahm explains why he’s closing his Facebook page

German artist Nils Frahm made his name exploring a blend of classical and electronic music, but now he’s making headlines for another reason: shutting down his Facebook page – “the first of many social media accounts I am going to close,” according to his farewell post. “Facebook et. al. have become unwanted companions in my life, […]

What happens if you quit Facebook for a month?

Quitting specific social networks – temporarily or permanently – is an increasingly-common pastime. But does it improve your life? A study at Stanford University has been finding out, focusing on Facebook with a study of 2,844 of its users in the US. A subset of them deactivated their accounts for four weeks. And the main […]

Facebook financials impress but Apple row is getting serious

Facebook published its latest financial results yesterday, with quarterly revenues up 30% year-on-year to $16.91bn, leading to a net profit of $6.88bn in the fourth quarter of 2018. Mobile advertisements accounted for around 93.5% of Facebook’s overall revenues last quarter. For the year as a whole, Facebook generated just over $55.8bn in revenues, up 37% […]

Facebook tipped to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger

Why DID Instagram’s co-founders and the remaining co-founder of WhatsApp leave Facebook in 2018? More fuel for the gossip was provided by a New York Times report this weekend reporting that CEO Mark Zuckerberg “plans to integrate the social network’s messaging services — WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger… The services will continue to operate as […]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveals personal challenge for 2019

Imagine being Mark Zuckerberg, trying to think of your annual ‘personal challenge’ for 2019, after the 2018 that Facebook had. Yet the social network’s CEO is sticking to his guns of choosing a new challenge every January (in the past that’s included learning Mandarin, building an AI for his home and running 365 miles). And […]

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