We knew Facebook was going to announce a big music-related feature today, and the rumour was that it was going to basically be scrobbling. So a small army of Last.fmers and ex-Last.fmers convened our legendary keynote backchannel on IRC to watch it.
It almost crept up on me. This was a developer event, so Zuckerberg (as inexpert as he is at giving these talks) assembled their scrobbling feature in front of us. It’s a combination of their “frictionless” way of enabling apps to post updates, and the new “verb” system which adds a bit of semantic structure to them.
At Last.fm we always said that we’d love to see other types of action scrobble, but finding actions which fit the scrobbling concept was hard. The key part of scrobbling is the automation, it can’t be a manual thing.
Facebook have solved this - they’re now a generic platform for scrobbling anything. Add that to the fact that there are an increasingly large number of things which can automatically scrobble — books from my Kindle, films through Netflix — and I think Facebook may have solved it.
Of course Facebook can’t scrobble from desktop media players yet, but that feature will come. Last.fm could provide it, but then it would increasinlgly be just a commodity.
The music features Facebook has built are fairly lacklustre. But I don’t think that matters - they have practically a billion-user head start on Last.fm, and the convenience will soon outweigh the experience Last.fm has gained for talking to music-lovers.
It’s going to be an interesting few months.