Facebook plans to launch a music offering as part of its media blitz next Tuesday. But if you’re looking for a Facebook version of iTunes, a Facebook version of music file sharing services, or anything else groundbreaking, don’t hold your breath.
Instead, Facebook is working on a much more modest plan: MySpace-style “artist pages,” where users can listen to a handful of songs, learn about upcoming shows, etc. And even that may be underwhelming: Our understanding is that as of Friday afternoon, only one of the big four music labels — EMI Music — was on board.
What’s holding up Warner Music Group (WMG), Sony-BMG and Universal Music Group? Nothing tricky or conceptual, since all of them are happy to promote their acts on MySpace. The problem, we’re told, is that Facebook only recently reached out to the labels, and that they’re scrambling to get deals signed before Tuesday: “There are going to be a lot of people working throughout the weekend to get this done,” we’re told.
What else do we know about Tuesday’s event? Less then we’d like — it’s super secret! But we can tell you the following:
• The event will take place at Loft Eleven. If you want to get in, you’ll need a coveted invite, and you’ll have to sign an NDA.
• The event is mainly designed as a chance for Facebook to introduce itself to Madison Avenue and its clients, and specifically to roll out its new targeted ad campaign.
Mike Arrington reports that at least one element of said campaign is code named “Project Beacon,” and makes it sound equally smart and creepy: Facebook will work with third parties like Amazon, and offer users the chance to let Facebook know when they’re, say, purchasing a book. That info could then be shared with advertisers, who could target FB users on the network, and possibly outside of Facebook as well. Hard to imagine users who’d willingly share this info (it will require an opt-in), but a few years ago we would have said the same thing about social networks as well.