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Facebook lets you eavesdrop on friends' music

Jan. 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM ET

Facebook /
How you can listen to the same music your friends are listening to in real-time on Facebook

Facebook has expanded its music experience by allowing its users — which could number one billion later this year — to eavesdrop on friends' music playlists in real-time and comment on it through chat.

Facebook product designer Alexandre Roche wrote a blog post about the new feature, which will roll out over the next few weeks. Accessing it is as easy as pulling up your chat sidebar and scrolling down to find a music note icon next to friends who are online and listening to music through a service such as Spotify. You've probably already noticed, in your News Feed and on the Ticker on the right-hand side of your page, that you can see what your friends are listening to, on the aforementioned Spotify, as well as Slacker Radio, Rdio, Rhapsody and others of that ilk.

Facebook /
Facebook imagines a scenario where friends chat up the listening experience

Hovering the cursor over their name in that sidebar will open up a small window that has a "Listen with" button. And then you can, if you want, chat with your friend about the music you — and any others who join in on the conversation — are listening to together. Then, you can play DJ to your friends, or just go with flow and respond to their requests. 

Or, as Roche seems to think you'll do:

You can listen to the same song, at the exact same time — so when your favorite vocal part comes in you can experience it together, just like when you're jamming out at a performance or dance club.

Or, you could actually go to a show or go out and do this together. Just saying. But, if you are long distance buds and this is as close as you can get, maybe it'll give you that little burst of shared activity that gets you through the day. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it's because Turntable.fm has a similar system. Here's how they describe their service:

  • Become a DJ to play songs for everyone in the room.
  • Each DJ plays one song each turn.
  • Everyone can vote on the song. Too many "Lame" votes and the song is skipped.
  • Vote "Awesome" during songs you like to reward the DJ with points.

You can also connect through Facebook, but Turntable.fm allows you to discover music from strangers and interact with them too. As co-founder Billy Chasen told Business Insider, "I'm flattered Facebook was inspired by turntable.fm and created a listen together feature. I look forward to seeing how they interpret what social music means as we seem to have different core philosophies about it (such as the importance of discovering new music from strangers and not just friends)."

I tried to try this out today, going online to chat and didn't see new music icon next to any of my friends' names, and they're all over the country, the world. But when it does, we'll try it out and let you know about the experience.

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