Ray Philp - Music Matters

THEY say that a change is as good as a rest, but it’s a maxim that Facebook has been working overtime to dispel.

As Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard-born plaything fidgets and fiddles with your beloved profile page – again – it’s only a matter of time before you log in to discover that your nights out have been Photoshopped and your status updates are referred to Max Clifford before publishing.

Coming slightly sooner, though, is Facebook’s music sharing feature, which it announced at F8 – a technology conference in San Francisco where men gather to speak in C++ and Klingon.

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Facebook plans to launch a series of apps to make sharing music with your friends easier.

Instead of “liking” a song posted on Facebook, you’ll soon be able to “listen” to it and share the fact with your pals. Facebook then takes this information and helps you to construct your online “identity”, so that other Facebook friends can more accurately see what sort of guff/genius you’re listening to.

Sharing music with your friends hardly sounds objectionable, but if recent history has taught us anything about Facebook’s increasingly invasive presence in daily life, then the news should be welcomed with some caution.

The social network is a hotly-contested space for advertisers. It follows that, once Facebook is able to record the sort of music that you like, then these same advertisers can more accurately pinpoint what to sell to you by recommending similar artists.

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“So whit?” I hear you bellow. Setting on such a path will, I fear, lead to a point where you’re only listening to music that you think you like and not discovering anything new, different or, dare we say, better in the meantime, especially if your mates are listening to the same sort of stuff. It will be like an endless mutual backslapping exercise.

If a change is indeed better than a rest, as Facebook is so keen on demonstrating, then you could do worse than pay a visit to your local record store. Remember those?