August 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

The Trouble with Hipset: What Do Facebook Likes Really Mean?

hipset facebook likes

Forbes favorites Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni have followed up on their creation Tracks.by, which lets artists and their people promote music via Facebook, with a new service that’s been turning heads over the weekend: Hipset.

The way it works is simple (by gathering news, photos, videos, and all other Facebook updates from your musical Facebook Likes), and the way it looks is great: like Pinterest.

According to Forbes, “Schlicht envisions Hipset as the major destination site for music, the way Twitter is for news and Facebook is for friends — a kind of new version of MySpace.”

The world certainly needs one of those. But is this it?

That question comes down to whether Facebook Likes are accurate. They might not be. Some of us created most of our Facebook Likes when we first joined five or so years ago, back when they were called Interests, and filled them out with a handful of bands. And even people who joined later might not have many likes, because it can mean deciding, one day, “Hey, I should Like all my favorite bands instead of doing something else, no matter how long it takes.”

Facebook also knows your listening activity in many music apps — in other words, what you actually like to listen to in real life — without you doing much of anything. However, Hipset doesn’t use those. The Likes it uses instead, for at least one user, me, are way off (you can vote below).

facebook music likes hipset

I don't like all my Facebook Likes, and I like lots of stuff I don't "Like." I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

According to Facebook, I Like 25 only bands. The real number is much, much higher. In addition, a 12 of those — nearly half — are a mix of friends, relatives, and stuff that I had to click Like on for some other reason (sorry, friend of mine with the Foo Fighters cover band, but I have never even heard you guys). One of my Likes isn’t even a band; it’s an app.

I might be an outlier. For instance, I only Liked Michael Jackson’s page to write this story, and not everyone writes about music apps. But the manual nature of Facebook Likes means they’re never going to be as accurate as other modern measures of what you’re into, including Last.fm and now Facebook.

Schlicht and Kazerooni have an answer to this: If you want to use Hipset, because it really does have a nice, Pinterest-y design, you’d better get your house in order, Likes-wise. That’s putting the wagon before the horse, in a sense, but perhaps people would be up for it. Bands could also use these developers’ other product, Tracks.by, to convince their fans to Like them on Facebook.

In addition, it’s in Facebook’s interest to make Likes an accurate reflection of the music people like, perhaps by integrating its own Likes into all of the music apps that hook into it. That could happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. Not even Spotify uses Likes within its apps (it uses its own Star designation instead).

As things stand, Likes are too manual, which is why they’re not accurate enough for Hipset to work for me and anyone else in this situation right out of the box. In today’s world, that’s just about all the time a free web app has in which to impress us.

Maybe I’m wrong, and I am the only Facebook user whose Likes aren’t accurate in either direction — i.e., I have Likes that I don’t like, as well as lots of stuff I like that’s not listed. Let’s have a poll!

  • http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/ PKafka

    Seriously? A music curation service that *only* uses FB likes? And people are writing about it in an earnest way? What am I missing?