Facebook to Sell Music

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In what’s starting to look more and more like the order du jour, Facebook has announced that it intends to start selling music, putting it into competition with some very heavy hitters indeed.

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Facebook may well have truly staggering userbase, but it hasn’t actually been a profitable enterprise until quite recently. With that in mind, the fact that Facebook is adding the ability to buy music makes a lot of sense, but it’s wandering into an area that will see it up against dedicated services like iTunes, Spotify and Rhapsody.

Perhaps most interesting is the news that Facebook’s music service is to be powered by LaLa.com, who the observant among you will remember as the gang supplying the music behind Google’s upcoming music service, tentatively referred to as Google Audio, for now.

If nothing else, this gives Facebook users the option to buy and gift songs to friends, but it also offers the change to buy and then download DRM-free MP3s. It’s worth pointing out that a song will cost 9 of Facebook’s “credits,” with each credit costing 10 cents (US).

All of that combined means that Facebook’s music service boasts DRM-free downloadable music, at a price that undercuts Apple’s iTunes per-track cost, the ability to stream songs for 10 cents a pop and Facebook’s practical ubiquity. While the gift service might not look too popular now, it’s something that Facebook could certainly stand to take a chance on. Of course, most won’t be willing to pay the 10c to stream content, services like Spotify (where available) and even Last.fm will allow that for free.

We’d imagine LaLa.com is also, most pleased with this week’s news. There’s nothing like adding Google and Facebook to the list of people to whom you provide services 🙂

You can read the announcement from Facebook if you’re curious about the details of its upcoming service. For now, it’s only available in the US (as it seems, are all LaLa offerings) but with any luck we’ll see

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