When Facebook launched its ambitious attempt to become “a connective tissue for music,” the biggest player in internet radio, Pandora, didn’t join the party. You could share stations on Pandora, of course, but Pandora decided not to let Facebook see what people were listening to in real time.
You can toggle Facebook sharing on and off using prominent buttons in Pandora’s apps as of May 22, when Pandora joined Facebook Music – 20 months to the day after much of its competition did the same.
A Pandora spokeswoman tells Evolver.fm that “it’s a bit early to gauge results,” so the jury’s still out on that. Whenever the company is ready to share that story, assuming it wants to, we will be interested to see what this big change in direction will do for Pandora.
Pandora’s (now former) reticence to tell Facebook everything its (participating) users are playing stems from the days when Last.fm was the big game in town for scrobbling. Last.fm is a direct competitor to Pandora, because it offers artist radio stations.
From that vantage point, Facebook’s success in becoming a social music hub is a bit ironic: It’s precisely because Facebook is not a music service that it makes sense, to Pandora and the others, as “connective tissue.”
We look forward to (hopefully) finding out what Facebook Music does for Pandora, and also to witness the effects of “social butterfly”-type people, who do most of the sharing, on music overall, because it won’t be long before restaurants and the like start sculpting their playlists to please them.