Last week at its f8 developer conference, after months (years, even) of rumors and speculation, Facebook finally got its music service. Well, it got a bunch of them: Spotify, Rdio, MOG, and others are now deeply integrated with the social network, and, for better or for worse, your friends’ song choices are streaming through your Facebook Ticker as we speak.
To coincide with these integrations, Facebook also launched a Music dashboard, which is now featured in the left navigation sidebar (it’s automatically installed, just like Events, Photos, and the other default Facebook apps). It’s a nifty feature: click the link, and you’ll see a structured listing of some of the songs your friends have recently listened to, as well as some of the most popular artists and albums trending across all of your friends.
There’s another interesting thing about the app: it has a nice little blue music note icon; one that long-time TechCrunch readers may recognize. Bueller?
Why, yes — those music notes are the same ones associated with the Mysterious Facebook Music App we spotted way back in February 2010 (the same icon was also showing up in users’ News Feeds: if you shared a song from Spotify or MySpace Music, your link would have the little blue notes next to it).
At the time, the mysterious Music application had begun showing up in users’ application dashboards (see the screenshot below). If you clicked on the app, it would point you toward Facebook.com/music, but you’d just get directed back to your News Feed. As far as we could tell everyone could see it, but only temporarily— shortly after we wrote about the app, it disappeared.
Facebook’s explanation at the time was that it might have something to do with the media player that’s integrated with some Facebook Pages (which, as I pointed out to them, didn’t make sense — this Music app and the player they were referencing had different application IDs). They also said something about a music promotion Facebook had done around SXSW years before, hence the URL Facebook.com/music. When I again tried to point out that this wasn’t a satisfying explanation (why would this application be pointing to that..?), they said it was a bug and that they didn’t have anything else to say about it. So there.
Is the new Music Dashboard the same app from the Facebook of yore? I don’t know for sure — even if it is, the app would have certainly evolved over the last 20 months, and it could just be a case of them reusing artwork.
But I’m inclined to believe there’s some relation: both apps had the same icon, and similar URLs (the URL for the new Music Dashboard is facebook.com/?sk=music, the old one was facebook.com/music; both formats are used by Facebook’s default apps). And I think it’s a decent indicator that, despite what it said publicly for ages, Facebook has been experimenting with music for quite a while.
The initial sighting