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September 27, 2011 • Music Diary, News

Music Diary Notes: The Post f8 Spotify-Facebook Hangover

Last week I reported on the Facebook Music announcements, and I showed how the new Free mode of Spotify would auto-fill the registration with your Facebook profile.

Well, this weekend a couple of less-exciting things came to light. First, I actually USED the Facebook-Spotify ‘connection’, and second I discovered that the sign-up process I highlighted was more than ‘convenient’.

First, over at DMN there is word that the Facebook connection for Spotify isn’t a convenience – it is a requirement!

Here’s what the registration prompt now says:

“You need a Facebook account to register for Spotify. If you have an account, just log in below to register. If you don’t have a Facebook account, get one by clicking the ‘create an account’ link below.”

Given how many people see Facebook as perhaps the worst company in terms of being careless with user data and offering that data up willy-nilly for the right price, this is a serious issue for those who want Spotify but not Facebook.

This is bad news for anyone that doesn’t ‘have a Facebook,’ or purposely ditched an account. And increasingly, it seems like we all have that friend that jumped ship, either to reclaim some privacy or go the Mary Blige, ‘no more drama’ route. “Just cancelled by Spotify premium account,” user Victor posted on getsatisfaction.com. “I do not agree with Facebook’s policies. I haven’t for years, I cancelled my FB account in 2009 due to their nefarious activities and their constant data disclosure flubs.”

Apparently the reaction has been swift and negative:

Boards are blowing up on this issue, but it looks like there’s no going back. “Unfortunately you will need a Facebook account to access Spotify from now on, unless you already have an account set up,” Spotify employee ‘Darren’ told an angry mob, some of whom were actively canceling their accounts. “This does not stop you creating the Facebook account adding nothing to it and making it totally private as the Facebook account does not have to be actively used.”

But even if you ARE fine sharing all of your Spotify listening selections on Facebook, users are discovering that ‘it just works’ would NOT be on the list of phrases to describe the Facebook-Spotify connection!

I took the service for a spin over the weekend and was less than impressed. The Rdio (and MOG) interface is much better than Spotify – if you click a link, they open the web page for the service and start playing. With Spotify, even if it is installed, it can’t open the app but rather downloads a file to get you to install it – even though you’ve already linked up Facebook and Spotify!

Worse yet, when I tried the first time it downloaded an EXE file to my Mac! Thanks! Then, when I manually opened Spotify and then went to Facebook and tried again … everything worked and the music played as expected. Definitely not as fluid as Rdio or MOG, but at least it worked. But this is much less of the ‘seamless integration’ one would have expected based on the f8 hoopla! In fact, I would put it closer to clicking on a YouTube link than integrated music.

Apparently the folks at DMN agree:

Yikes: can we go back to the buttery-smooth version as presented by Mark Zuckerberg? Because after a few hours of testing, we couldn’t believe the level of clunkiness! No, stuff wasn’t crashing or freezing, it wasn’t that bad. But the experience WAS loaded with prompts, downloads, listening limitations, endless ads and misfires. And Spotify+Facebook was totally different from the expectation created at f8.

This was probably in the user’s manual somewhere, but Spotify is not a fully-integrated Facebook app like Farmville. In fact, the first thing you learn is that a separate Spotify app must be downloaded and running to play a shared Facebook track. And if you’re new to this party, that means setting up an account and downloading the full, separate application to your local machine. And, reinstalling it if you jump to another machine.

But it gets worse. Because if someone comes to the table (ie, your streaming friend ticker) with a shared link from something not Spotify – let’s say, Rdio – you can only listen on Rdio, not Spotify. And that goes for every other on-demand, integrated music service. They don’t talk to one another.

There is also criticism of the apparent favoritism shown to Spotify. At first it seemed like Spotify was the ONLY way to get music. But now you can also see your Rdio favorites and share things with MOG, and the seeming push to channel everything to Spotify is gone.

When you click to launch music from Facebook based on a link, it will try to start it in the specified service and ask you what to do if it fails. This is also a work in progress, as it initially focused on just the selected service but will now also offer to open in Spotify if you choose Rdio or Rdio if you choose Spotify. Not sure if this will get more flexible over time, or if the push is towards these services.

Overall I would call Facebook’s new music integration ‘lackluster’. It is certainly NOT the next big thing … at least not yet. It is just another muddled stream of useless information without form or order thrown on your Facebook wall. In that regard, it is no better than seeing stuff in Apple’s Ping.

Have you tried integrating your music with Facebook? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

One Response to " Music Diary Notes: The Post f8 Spotify-Facebook Hangover "

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully, I got an invite to Spotify before the Facebook requirement. Why do companies over-complicate the process for using their product like this? Did Facebook purchase Spotify or license exclusivity in the USA? Having Spotify connected to Facebook is well and good for anyone who wants it, but forcing customers to sign up for Facebook and link the two accounts makes no practical sense.

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