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DIY Update: Facebook As The New MySpace

MySpace is dead. Oh, it’s still out there, but isn’t worth your band's precious time anymore. If it wasn’t clear its downfall was coming when sold to News Corp., then it should have been clear when sold to ad network Specific Media this year. The social network, while terrible on usability and reliability, did wonders for the music industry in its heyday by giving bands a place where they could host their music for free streaming. While other sites would also host songs for streaming, being the top social network resulted in every band creating a MySpace profile and the site becoming the go-to destination to hear a band’s music.

MySpace has been losing users and mindshare for years now, with Facebook and its superior interaction model rocketing to the top of the social network pack. Still, while hinting at music services, Facebook took their time delivering any sort of music integration, keeping MySpace relevant to the music world long after it had been made irrelevant as a social networking platform. Eventually, YouTube surpassed MySpace as the primary place where users search for music (albeit much of its content consists of infringing uploads), and the writing was on the wall about MySpace's imminent demise.

Facebook Pages were enough to draw bands to Facebook to network with their fans on the largest social network in the world. Then Facebook opted not to create “Facebook Music,” but instead support music via applications that integrate with other services and a more direct integration with streaming services such as Spotify, MOG, and Earbits.

As the current #1 social media site and now as large as the entire Internet was in 2004, Facebook is a great place for social media addicts to promote their band and engage with fans and make new fans. But can Facebook be what MySpace was to bands and more?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few applications that can be used to turn your band’s Facebook page into a destination where users can hear your music, much like MySpace was at its peak, but without the errors and crappy/bloated designs.

ReverbNation

ReverbNation is a social network focused on music (artists, labels, management, venues and fans) that caught on fairly well, especially as MySpace began its decline. The service itself tries to do a lot of things, from hosting music streams and downloads and embeddable widgets, blogs, show listings, and an integrated store, and fan mailing list, while allowing for on-site fan interaction as well. The service has a paid plan, which adds some premium features, but is not required for most bands or to embed their Facebook app on your band’s Facebook page.

ReverbNation's Facebook app includes most of the site's functionality right in the app itself: a music player, tour dates, band bio, press quotes and more. It also shows your Facebook wall below the application so visitors can read your updates while listening to your music.

ReverbNation on Facebook


BandPage

The BandPage Facebook application by RootMusic is quite simply a music player for your Facebook page. The application can stream music from Soundcloud or videos from YouTube, the latter of which doesn’t require a YouTube channel or account, but can embed any video from the service. This reliance on other services can be seen as both an advantage and disadvantage in various scenarios.

The music player doesn’t take up as much space as the ReverbNation app, however, and the band’s Facebook Wall can be shown below it. Setting your BandPage as the default landing page for visitors gives them both the music and interaction on a single page.

BandPage on Facebook

bandcamp

bandcamp itself is a must-have service for any unsigned band, as it lets you sell digital downloads as well as physical products very cost-effectively.

bandcamp just recently announced the release of their Facebook app, which essentially puts your bandcamp page right into Facebook, minus the template customization but with an option to upload a custom banner to fit Facebook’s specifications. As such, management of this app is painless.

Unlike the other apps, your wall posts are not shown below the bandcamp portion, so users can’t easily browse your wall while listening to your music. This oversight may be corrected in the future, since this is the first iteration of bandcamp’s Facebook application. But the main advantage of this app is that it allows bands to sell downloads and physical products right on their Facebook page. (Note: a Paypal account is required to accept payment on bandcamp or the Facebook app).

bandcamp on Facebook

Which Should You Choose?

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of ReverbNation’s Faceboook app. Much like the service itself, the Facebook app tries to display too much information, looks too busy, and takes up way too much space as a result. Showing your Facebook page’s Wall posts 2-4 screen lengths down below all this information is practically pointless. However, if your band has had good success leveraging ReverbNation as a social network and manages much of its information like shows and blog posts on there and uses the fan mailing list features, then it makes sense to use the ReverbNation Facebook app to continue funnelling fans and leads through that same service.

I’ve been using RootMusic’s BandPage on Metalunderground.com’s Facebook page for some time and I like it. The player is small enough to let the user scroll down to the Wall posts below to read while listening. The app is easy enough to set up and manage, but you may have to set up a SoundCloud account if you don’t have videos that you’d like to embed from YouTube. The feature set for the free edition is also pretty good and lets users share individual songs on their walls, embedding a player into the wall/feed post, download songs from Soundcloud, and more.

bandcamp’s Facebook app is the new kid on the block. The big advantage of this app is that it not only lets users stream your music, but it doubles as a store. Users can buy your music and products right on your Facebook page, just like they were on your bandcamp page. As previously mentioned, your wall posts are not shown below the bandcamp app, so users can’t easily browse your updates while listening to your music, which I find to be a drawback of this app. The audio player, like on the site, unfortunately omits a volume control, which is a big pet peeve of mine, and quite possibly tips the scales in favor of the BandPage player.

In the end, I’m undecided as to whether I prefer RootMusic’s BandPage over bandcamp’s app, but I would recommend them both over ReverbNation’s app, unless (as previously mentioned) you’re already having success with that service. Perhaps bands can use both a BandPage and bandcamp page - set up a BandPage as the default landing page for users to hear their music and read their updates (wall posts), and set up the bandcamp app as a separate page that acts more like an online store, and label it as such.

One thing is certain: every band should have a Facebook page (don’t set up a personal profile for your band, as there are limitations on them that are not on Facebook Pages) and allow users to hear their music right there...just like the good old days of MySpace.

Which application do you prefer to let fans hear your band’s music on Facebook? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.

deathbringer's avatar

A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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11 Comments on "DIY Update: Facebook As The New MySpace"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. erik writes:

facebook sh** the best machine to spy that has created at all times..

I prefer myspace, no Jews and Zionists through of myspace

# Oct 28, 2011 @ 10:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. fuck you all writes:

the machine taking over man. Google+

# Oct 28, 2011 @ 11:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
pinto_beans's avatar

Member

3. pinto_beans writes:

"engrish" no esta aqui.

# Oct 29, 2011 @ 12:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. Arnian writes:

As far as I'm concerned, reverbnation has stepped into the myspace trap a long time ago. It's practically useless. The number of additional steps I have to go through to get music uploaded (changing sampling frequency the main idiocy), and their laughable file-size limit would be bad enough, but their mess of a user interface ensures I'll stay with bandcamp for the foreseeable future. Bandpage looks interesting for embedding videos though, will have to take a look at that sometime.

# Oct 29, 2011 @ 2:50 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

5. deathbringer writes:

I agree. ReverbNation is from the MySpace era and it shows. It definitely needs to be streamlined and made easier to use. I think the streaming music and embeddable widgets were the real draw and got many bands onboard just like MySpace did.

# Oct 29, 2011 @ 1:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

6. Cynic writes:

Great article db, actually really helpful for me setting one up. My question is, why does the massive entity that is Facebook not have it's own definitive band page? I mean, the amount of server architecture they have for photos must be more than enough to host a few songs. In short, I hate apps in general, they're generally invasive and come with all the issues of 3rd party solutions.

# Oct 29, 2011 @ 10:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

7. deathbringer writes:

Thanks. Yeah, it's a good question. My guess is that they don't want to deal with all the copyright issues as well as royalties for streaming music (technically a "performance"). If it's all done through apps that are streaming music from other services, both become non-issues to Facebook.

# Oct 30, 2011 @ 1:16 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. Mariana writes:

Hey Doug, thanks for creating a comparison between these Facebook apps. Constructive feedback like this is priceless to us. I'm the new community manager at Reverb, and it's my job to take relevant feedback into the product team.

I did want to point something out that you may not have realized about our app. Band Profile is actually completely customizable and configurable. You can change the colors to anything you like, and you can move the 'modules' (concert schedule, videos, wall and twitter, bio, etc) up or down within the app - or even remove them completely. So if you wanted to show just the music player with the wall right below it (the only configuration available in RootMusic), you can do that. If you want to highlight your videos, you can move that module right up under the music player. Here are a couple of cool examples of metal bands who have customized the look and feel of the app: http://www.facebook.com/lambofgod and http://www.facebook.com/MotleyCrue?sk=app_2405167945

Finally, while we agree that aesthetics are important, let's not forget that the true value of the app comes from the valuable fan interactions that the app drives. Our app was designed from the ground up to entice users to interact with it in ways that create real value for the artist (share your music with friends, join your mailing list, like your page, etc). Hence, the large and contrasting 'call to action' buttons in our app. Have you tried experimenting with all three of these apps? If so, what does the data say about how they stack up at driving the outcomes you seek? At the end of the day, these outcomes are what we are trying to deliver for artists.

# Oct 31, 2011 @ 3:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

9. deathbringer writes:

Thanks for the feedback Mariana. I have not used ReverbNation's app firsthand and was only going off what I've seen online, which is quite a lot of bands. I did mention the tools as a reason to use the Reverb app. You're looking at it from a different perspective than I was, however, which would lead me down all sorts of paths I was not prepared to go in this article. I was approaching the comparison mostly from the stance of allowing users to hear a band's music on their Facebook page and didn't even go down the road of other features like mailing lists and "like to listen or download" etc. I'll save that for in-depth looks into each service in the future.

# Nov 3, 2011 @ 5:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. Anon writes:

Ill be honest, Reverb Nation is irritating and my least favorite of the numerous choices out there. Their interface is confusing, dated, and uninformative. Their site is about Reverb Nation, and not about the artist as it should be. Their branding is everywhere and quite annoying. I've never met anyone in the industry or even fans who have said anything positive about RN.

You always run into people saying something like "oh I heard of these guys through Last FM..." but never ever hear "oh yeah so I was checking out my reverb nation page today and heard..."

My prediction is they will refuse to die out, and try a rebranding/redesign of everything only to fail. Just like MySpace.

# Nov 3, 2011 @ 10:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

11. deathbringer writes:

Cynic, I thought this was pretty timely relating to your comments/questions as well:

http://gizmodo.com/5855865/why-is-facebook-deleting-its-music-player-app#

# Nov 5, 2011 @ 4:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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