Facebook recommends upcoming concerts in News Feed

Some Facebook users are seeing a new “Upcoming Concerts” story in their feeds. The feature seems to suggest nearby music events based on a user’s interests, listening activity and friend connections.

It is unclear whether Facebook is testing other recommended event stories or if this is limited to music for now. Either way, this is another example of how Facebook can leverage data beyond the social graph, and help people discover things based on their interests and location. As users Like more pages, add location to their posts and use new Open Graph applications, Facebook can provide interesting and relevant recommendations for a number of categories.

Nearly a year ago Facebook began testing “Suggested Events,” a list of recommendations based on pages users Like, places they’ve been and actions they’ve taken in Open Graph apps. When the company redesigned the events product this summer, suggested events began appearing directly on users’ calendars rather than on a separate page accessed through a sub-navigation menu. Even still, users don’t typically visit their events page every day so they might not discover these options. As long as the recommendations are relevant, users may welcome seeing suggested events in News Feed.

Besides the new upcoming concerts feature in the feed, Facebook has other music discovery features. The music dashboard launched last year at f8 lets users know what songs and artists are popular among their friends. Recently, it also began highlighting music that is similar to other artists users have listened to.

Thanks to Tom Waddington for the tip and the screenshot of Upcoming Concerts.

BandPage Everywhere looks to help artists make websites more social after tab apps lose traction

Music technology company BandPage, which was previously focused on Facebook tab development, today announced BandPage Everywhere to bring Facebook integration and other key features to all of an artist’s sites across the web.

BandPage Everywhere allows musicians to update their bio, music tracks, photo gallery, tour dates and videos from one central place and then have it update on a number of other sites. Additionally, the app integrates Facebook Open Graph so users can RSVP to events and favorite certain songs, and those actions will be shared back to the social network, even if they are taken on off-Facebook. This adds a social layer that many musicians would be unlikely to implement on their own.

BandPage was one of the first page app developers to integrate Open Graph and allow automatic sharing to Timeline. We thought this might help the app maintain engagement after the default landing tab option was removed from pages, but it turns out it wasn’t enough. As we wrote about earlier this week, page owners and developers who do not actively promote their page tabs have seen an extreme drop-off in monthly active users. BandPage in particular lost more than 90 percent of its traffic, according to our AppData tracking service. This left the developer in a vulnerable position following a $16 million Series B round of funding last August that had been primarily driven by the massive reach the company seemed to have.

Now BandPage hopes to recover by expanding beyond Facebook and providing musicians with an easy way to maintain their presence across different sites. We’d like to see the company introduce more custom Open Graph actions to allow users to share what songs they listen to, videos they watch and other activity back to Facebook. BandPage should also consider making more mobile-optimized experiences.

More about the new BandPage Everywhere extensions is available here.

Facebook adds music sharing feature, total Spotify plays, top videos and more to artists’ pages

Some artists’ Facebook pages now include an option for fans to search for and share Spotify links to their favorite songs, as well as a way for users to see which songs, videos and news stories related to an artist are trending on the social network.

When users visit an artist’s page, they can click “music” from the publisher and search for a song by that artist. A link to Spotify will appear and users can say something about the link before posting it publicly to the page. This seems aimed at helping fans express themselves to their favorite artists, as many users often post links to YouTube videos of an artist’s songs to show their support. The new feature makes it easier for users to reference a particular song, while encouraging use of Spotify over YouTube. Ultimately, the feature could search across Vevo and other Facebook-connected services besides Spotify.

For now this option is available on pages that are linked with a Spotify artist and that allow fans to post on the page. For example, pages for Rihanna and Eminem do not allow fans to write on their Wall so there is no option to share music either. Some users have also seen the music feature above News Feed, allowing them to easily share songs with friends.

Another feature we recently noticed on artist pages is a module that includes the number of total Spotify plays for five of an artist’s most popular songs. When users first visit an artist page, they will see which songs are popular among their friends, but when filtering Timeline by “posts by others,” they will see total plays among all users.

In that same “posts by others” view are modules showing the top videos and top articles about an artist. This information is pulled from Open Graph-enabled apps like Vevo, Viddy, Yahoo and Washington Post Social Reader. These modules are interesting for people who visit the page, but they could also be useful for artists to understand which channels their fans — or potential fans — are most active on.

[Update 7/10/12 2:50 p.m. PT - These video and news modules are also available on fan pages for brands, public figures and other entities on Facebook.]

[Update 7/10/12 4:49 p.m. PT - Facebook engineer Alejandro Marcu, who works on pages, tells us these modules were added to pages on June. 15.]

Facebook pages are becoming increasingly rich destinations for artists to connect with fans and for users to discover new music. In April, Facebook added a listen button to artist pages, allowing users to get an instant sample of an artist’s music. With Timeline, artists can tell their story dating back before Facebook, making these pages useful for sharing an artist’s discography and important biographical events. Facebook pages could be an even stronger hub for artists if they also included modules about popular shows or concerts featuring that artist. This module could pull information from Facebook events, Ticketmaster, StubHub and other ticketing services that integrate Open Graph. Users should be able to see which shows their friends had been to, as well as which events were most popular overall.

Facebook stock above $30, denial of IPO fraud, alliance against ad scams and more on this week’s news roundup

Facebook shares are back above $30 for the first time since May, closing today at $30.01 — up 6 percent from Thursday.

Earlier today Facebook filed a motion to consolidate the 40-plus class-action lawsuits against the company following its initial public offering. The filing claims the company did nothing wrong in the weeks leading up to the IPO and suggested that Nasdaq’s technical issues on the first day of trading “created market uncertainty and caused investor losses.” Earlier this week, a Texas court rejected a petition seeking documents and oral dispositions from top Facebook executives to determine if the company defrauded investors.

It’s unclear whether the post-market-close announcement that CTO Bret Taylor would leave the company will affect the company’s stock price on Monday. Shares were down slightly in after-hours trading.

In other Facebook-related news this week:

Facebook joins alliance to fight ‘bad ads’ — Facebook joined Google, Twitter and AOL in an alliance this week against ads that deliver malware, direct users to scams or try to sell counterfeit goods. The alliance will develop industry policy recommendations and best practices, as well as share information about “bad actors” who might try to advertise on a new network after being shut down by another.

App Center now available on iPad — The Facebook App Center is now available to some iPad users as part of the social network’s gradual rollout of the new dashboard. The App Center is available on the web and mobile devices to help users discover new Facebook-integrated applications.

Facebook completely open sources Ringmark — The social network announced on Thursday that its mobile browser test suite, Ringmark, is now completely open source. Facebook has also added drawing performance tests to the Ringmark repository to help game developers and others test a mobile browser’s animation speed.

GraphEffect raises $12M — Social marketing and advertising collaboration platform GraphEffect announced Wednesday that it secured $12 million in financing. The platform, which builds upon the Facebook Ads and Insights APIs, recently added a “story manager” feature to help users understand how their posts are performing and then easily turn those into promoted units. GraphEffect can also now deliver ads within News Feed and mobile devices. CEO and co-founder James Borow says the company has more features in the works, including a full page publishing tool.

AdParlor to give job offer to future winner of Facebook Hackathon — Facebook ad optimization company AdParlor has promised to make a job offer to whoever wins the Facebook Hack in Toronto on Saturday. The winner will also get a new iPad.

Facebook tests ‘share music’ feature – Some Facebook users are seeing a “share music” option in their News Feed publisher, The Next Web reports. Users can search for songs and share Spotify streaming links with friends.

ReverbNation helps artists target ads to users who have listened to similar artists

ReverbNation has added a new option to its Facebook ad tool to allow music artists to target users who have listened to similar artists on streaming services like Spotify.

ReverbNation’s Promote It platform simplifies Facebook advertising by framing campaigns in a way that relates specifically to artists. For example, instead providing a number of complex targeting options, as Facebook’s self-serve tool does, Promote It simply asks artists to “name five artists whose fans might like your music.” Now in addition to targeting users who have listed those artists as Likes or interests, Promote It will target users who have recently listened to them on Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Deezer or Myspace.

This is possible through Facebook’s action spec targeting option, which is available in beta to Ads API partners. Advertisers can target users who have taken any action in an Open Graph application. In this case, the action is “listened to” and Promote It defines different artists as objects depending on the campaign. This type of targeting could be a powerful component of Facebook’s ad platform in the future, but advertisers have been relatively slow to adopt it, citing low reach and confusion about how it works.

ReverbNation implemented the feature only a week ago, so it does not have results to share. However, another ad provider, Nanigans, recently found that action targeting can result in up to 2.25 times higher clickthrough rates. Nanigans CEO Ric Calvillo tells us his customers have found success by targeting “app use” actions and Pinterest “pin” and “repin” actions, among others.

ReverbNation President and Co-Founder Jed Carlson says the new targeting feature is available for all Promote It campaigns, whether users are promoting a song, a fan page or a live show. Artists do not need to pay extra or take any additional steps for this targeting to be enabled.

Facebook pages for artists now include ‘listen’ button

Facebook has implemented a “listen” button on artists’ fan pages that lets users instantly stream songs from an artist’s catalog.

The button, which sits between options to Like and message the page below an artist’s cover photo, plays music using whichever Facebook-connected streaming service a person uses most frequently. Users can play and pause a song with the button, but they have to visit the streaming service to skip to the next song or fast forward through a track.

The feature will help users sample music when they visit an artist page for the first time and could help make Facebook a go-to option for people looking for new music, similar to how many people used MySpace in its heyday. Streaming services will benefit from the traffic and artists will appreciate Facebook linking to legally licensed versions of their work. Page tab application companies like ReverbNation and BandPage could suffer, since one of the key features they offer is music players for artists’ Facebook pages. Some artists, who don’t offer their music through subscription streaming services or who haven’t been able to connect their streaming catalog to their Facebook page, will not have a listen button so they might still turn to third-party developers.

Facebook’s new listen button isn’t the only way users can play music instantly from the site. News Feed stories about friends’ listening activity includes an option to play songs, as do search results, the music dashboard and Timeline summaries. These integrations could help Facebook become a media destination site.

Currently, most users visit the site to see what friends are saying or to share something about themselves. They often discover news, photos, videos and music in the process, but they don’t tend to think of going to Facebook for learning about a particular topic. As users discover features like the listen button, they might be more likely to utilize the social network as a media hub or even a search engine.

Facebook did not provide information about how artists who do not have the listen button on their site could have one implemented.

FanRx brings Spotify play button to Facebook tab apps

Social media software company FanRx today added an option for artists to embed their songs from Spotify on Facebook tab applications using the company’s free Facebook Page Builder.

This feature is possible as a result of the new Spotify “play button” announced today. Web publishers who include a short piece of code on their sites can display a button that lets registered Spotify users begin streaming music instantly. FanRx, formerly known as BandRx, was a launch partner and so is the first to bring the functionality to Facebook tabs.

Artists choose which songs to feature, then when users click the play button, the song begins playing in the Spotify desktop app — launching the player if it is not already open. Users who do not have Spotify yet will be prompted to download the app and create an account using their Facebook login. (See how it works here.)

Spotify has a free, ad-supported service, as well as subscription tiers up to $9.99 per month for unlimited streaming and additional features. Users must have a Facebook account to join Spotify. The app prompts users to share their listening activity on Facebook through Open Graph integration, but it is not a requirement, and there is an “incognito mode” to temporarily disable sharing.

Since September 2011‘s launch of Open Graph, Spotify songs have been playable from Facebook News Feed, Ticker and Timeline. Users can start and pause music while they browse the social network, and even have an option to listen to a song simultaneously with friends. On artists’ pages, Facebook highlights tracks your friends have listened to.

Now with FanRx, artists can customize which songs to include on their tab applications. Although page tabs are declining in use since Facebook removed the default landing tab option with the Timeline redesign, it is still possible to point ads to specific tabs or share direct links in posts to fans. We’ve seen a number of band-focused applications trying to innovate to maintain relevance.

Spotify opened its platform to third-party developers in November 2011. We could see a similar platform-on-a-platform model from Instagram, which has some APIs available in beta. For example, users can take photos using the Hipstamatic mobile app, then publish them through Instagram, which can then share to Facebook. With Spotify, developers like FanRx can include song widgets in their apps so that users can play music from Spotify, which can publish back to Facebook. The social network might watch Spotify’s growth as a platform and take cues for how it might want to handle Instagram since it acquired the company on Monday.

ReverbNation adds feature to let artists compare their Facebook ad campaigns to those in similar genres

ReverbNation, which provides online tools for artists and music venues to connect with fans, today introduces an update to its Facebook ad platform so artists can understand how their campaigns perform compared to others in similar genres.

Promote It is ReverbNation’s platform that simplifies advertising terms and frames Facebook campaigns in a way that relates specifically to artists. For example, instead of asking users to decide between broad category targeting and specific interest targeting or enter a list of interest keywords, as Facebook’s self-serve tool does, Promote It asks artists to “name five artists whose fans might like your music.”

Now to help artists judge the success of their campaigns, Promote It shows users how their ad clicks and fan interactions stack up against the average clicks and interactions for artists in the same genre. Promote It product manager Nick Sehn says ReverbNation found campaign performance varied significantly among different genres since launching the tool in August 2011. Sehn says niche genres typically have lower costs per fan than broader genres like pop or rap.

When campaigns perform below average, Promote It gives artists suggestions for improvement. For instance, the tool might recommend using a photo with the artist’s face rather than album art or selecting lesser known similar artists. Sehn says targeting fans of artists that are very popular does not usually work as well as targeting fans of more obscure bands.

These type of insights can be incredibly helpful to people who might not have any advertising experience. Facebook could take a cue from the way Promote It frames ad creation and reporting in easy-to-understand terms. There is also a market for other Ads API partners to focus on one vertical as ReverbNation has with the music industry. Promote It has facilitated more than 75,000 Facebook campaigns in about six months.

Tab applications for musicians look to innovate after Facebook removes default landing function

Companies that create tab applications for artists’ Facebook pages are employing new tactics like Open Graph integration to counter the loss of landing tabs.

Most page applications have experienced significant drops in daily and monthly active users now that Facebook removed the default landing tab option for pages with Timeline. Apps like BandPage, Band Profile, Vevo for Artists and BandRx – which allow artists to put songs, tour information and commerce functions on their pages – used to make frequent appearances on our weekly top Facebook apps lists. Now they’re some of the week’s biggest losers, according to our AppData tracking service, losing between 80,000 and 670,000 daily active users since Timeline launched for pages on Feb. 29. These numbers are expected to keep falling as more pages switch to the new design, which is mandatory starting March 30.

Some of these apps have already taken steps to maintain relevance. BandPage announced Open Graph integration that shares stories about videos users mark as favorites and concerts they mark as “want to see.”

ReverbNation, maker of Band Profile, announced a suite of new apps for specific functions. The icons for these apps take advantage of the larger thumbnails now available for tab applications. Instead of having a single app with videos, tour dates, merchandise and more, musicians can add individual apps with easy-to-identify icons that users are more likely to click on and use. (See “Play,” “Join” and “Schedule” below.)

Vevo was one of the early adopters of Open Graph on its music video website. The company also offers a tab app for artists, but for now, actions within those apps don’t translate to Timeline. Vevo could do something similar to BandPage and allow users to share their activity like watching videos, commenting and adding favorites.

It’s unclear whether these measures can attract the same level of traffic band apps saw while serving as the default tab for a page, but these Open Graph integrations could increase engagement overall. Previously, users would land on an app the first time they visited an artist’s page, but they wouldn’t necessarily return because interaction with pages typically happens in the News Feed once users become fans. But with Open Graph integration, users might take more action in an app to fill in their Timelines. This activity is also sent to Ticker and News Feed, leading friends to discover the app content and ultimately the artists’ page. We’ll keep an eye on daily active users as a percentage of monthly active users to see if engagement does increase.

Companies that make band apps and other tab applications will have to diversify their offerings now that they can’t rely on default traffic. Developing mobile-compatible experiences — like Wildfire’s recent example — and helping clients take advantage of Timeline and Open Graph seem to be steps in the right direction.

Vevo to require users to have Facebook account to register

Music video website Vevo sent an email to its users today announcing that they will soon be required to log into Vevo.com using Facebook, The Next Web reports.

The news brings back speculation that Vevo could move from YouTube to Facebook. Vevo’s contract with Google lasts another year, but a possible deal with Facebook could result in an ad revenue sharing model similar to what Google and Vevo have now. A partnership could help Facebook monetize and give it another advantage over Google. Vevo would likely benefit from getting a higher cut of advertising. It currently gives Google 35 percent.

The email to Vevo users says a new version of the site is coming March 9. At that point, all accounts must be connected with Facebook. Streaming service Spotify is another music platform that recently switched to Facebook-only login. The Spotify app has quickly reached 15.9 million monthly active users, according to our AppData traffic tracking service. Vevo’s Facebook app has only 390,000 MAU, but most people access Vevo videos through YouTube, not Vevo.com.

Vevo.com has full Open Graph integration. When users watch music videos, stories are automatically shared to Ticker, Timeline and News Feed. The site incorporates Like buttons and Facebook comments. Google-owned YouTube does not. YouTube also doesn’t require users to log in. But by getting users to watch more videos on Vevo.com or a new Facebook app, Vevo can provide users with more personalized experiences and collect more data about its audience.

We analyzed what future a partnership between Facebook and Vevo would do for the social network here.

Image credit: The Next Web

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