Facebook planning to become a major music player

17 Oct 2008

It has been reported that social media powerhouse Facebook is planning to become a music streaming competitor to iTunes and MySpace.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to enter the digital music business were revealed in an article in the New York Post.

Zuckerberg is reportedly talking to a number of song streaming services and sites such as iMeem.com, iLike.com and Rhapsody.com.

The nature of discussions appears to be pointing in the direction of a potential outsourcing deal.

Facebook, which is in the process of establishing its European headquarters in Dublin, is also understood to be holding discussions with various record labels.

The move follows news in recent weeks that rival site MySpace.com has entered into a long-anticipated venture with EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music, which will see it compete head-on with Apple’s iTunes service.

MySpace also signed a licensing deal with The Orchard, a large independent music distributor that is a joint venture between Sony Corporation and Michael Jackson.

The social networking service will go live initially with hundreds of thousands of songs.

However, unlike MySpace, Facebook doesn’t appear to be interested in trading its equity to secure licences.

Negotiations have been described as frantic, and Facebook is not interested in building its own proprietary system.

If the venture proves a bridge too far, it may walk away from it altogether, it is claimed.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: he’s with the band, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years