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Early Results: The Open Graph and Music

November 8, 2011ByCasey Maloney Rosales Muller

Over the past few years, developers have started to demonstrate that when music is discovered through friends, people listen to more music and a wider variety of artists. At f8, we introduced an evolution of Facebook Platform and launched a dozen partners that we’ve worked closely with to re-think music discovery with the Open Graph.

Our hypothesis was that integrating with the Open Graph would accelerate music discovery and make it a more valuable part of the Facebook experience, while improving key metrics for our partners. We want to provide an anecdotal summary of what we’ve seen in the two months since launch, even though Timeline -- one of the key channels for expression and discovery -- has yet to be released.

Since f8, people have shared their listening activity more than 1.5 billion times with their friends using the music apps that have integrated the Open Graph. As a result, some of our biggest music developers have more than doubled their active users, while earlier-stage startups and services starting with a smaller base have seen anywhere between a 2-10x increase in active users.

Developer Successes
A few highlights from the weeks following f8:

  • Spotify: Already one of the defining social music apps on the web, they expanded to the US this summer and added well over 4 million new users since f8.
  • Earbits: Y Combinator-funded startup built by a team of musicians saw a 1350 percent increase in the number of users becoming fans of the band they’re listening to.
  • MOG: Their uniquely social business model has led to a 246 percent growth in Facebook users since f8.
  • Rdio: Their strong social ecosystem has expanded with a 30x increase in new user registrations from Facebook.
  • Slacker: Available across mobile, TV, auto and web, Slacker saw a more than 11x increase in monthly active users in the month following f8.
  • Deezer: Based in France, they've added more than 10,000 users per day since finalizing their Open Graph integration.

It’s still early, but these results show that the Open Graph can be a powerful discovery mechanism for users and drive significant growth for developers.

Beyond these new Open Graph apps, already established players on Facebook like RootMusic and VEVO are continuing to show innovative ways of connecting musicians and music lovers. For example, on October 20, VEVO featured videos by Justin Bieber and Rihanna, which resulted in them doubling their daily active users in one day. Separately, RootMusic has seen an increase in engagement from both musicians and users on the 250,000 band Pages it powers, with musicians posting more updates and fans coming back more often to listen to music and engage with artists.

But the music experience doesn’t end with listening to a song or discovering a new artist. The entire concert experience is social, and it’s clear that improving any dimension of music discovery can impact growth and monetization. For example, ticketing sites like Eventbrite, Ticketmaster and Ticketfly all have seen between $2 and $6 in direct ticket sales for every link shared on Facebook.

Open Graph Best Practices
As you think about how to integrate with the Open Graph in music or any other category, here are some things many of these successful apps have in common:

  1. Socially connected users. With a base of users who are able to share your content with their friends from day one, you’re set up to double down on the social experience.
  2. Experiences are social by design. Once you have connected users and have clearly set the expectation up front that they will be in a social experience, you benefit from an increased volume of sharing and virality for your app through News Feed, Ticker and Timeline.
  3. Content being shared has lasting value. Beyond the immediate distribution benefits in channels like Ticker and News Feed, think about the aggregations and patterns your app can represent on Timeline to bring long-term value to a user and their friends who will revisit and reflect on it over the years.

We’re getting closer to a wider roll-out of Timeline and the Open Graph, and we are looking forward to the mobile and web experiences that are being created across all industries. What we’ve seen in music and games on Facebook is just the start, and it all happens through the apps you build.