After this week's Spotify launch announcement, this is a good time to check in and see where everything is headed with a Spotify US launch date. Will it be this week? Will it be a Spotify - Facebook Music week or Spotify solo? Which is to say, where we at?
Warner Music had begun providing encoded copies of thousands of recordings to be “ingested” on Spotify servers before lawyers approved the details of the fourth and final label contract," reads the Financial Times, quoting people familiar with its plans.
Although Spotify may be working to set up songs from Warner Music for Spotify, a contract still seems elusive. Most sources still see the details being hashed out. A reasonable theory here is that they've probably agreed in principle to complete the deal, whatever the details may be. Now they just need to let their legal teams go over those details and get final sign off on the contract
The launch strategy seems to be one in which Spotify will launch either with or without making Facebook a priority at launch. That may seem dodgy, but what I'm trying to say is that the consensus right now is that Facebook looks like one part of a broader marketing and launch strategy, so whether or not Facebook is part of that at the outset for Spotify seems like a minor point.
That being said, the online leak of marketing pitch materials from Spotify speak of a term called "Spotify Social," and although its unclear what that exactly means, it seems likely that it's speaking about a Spotify social networking strategy. Whether or not this is an overt service or just a marketing vibe is hard to tell.
So will we see Facebook Music? The jury's still out on that one, but it seems likely that Facebook will be working music into the Facebook world in some way. I'd bet on it not being a "Facebook Music" thing as a Facebook service, but rather as the inclusion of third parties, which is inline with what they've done in the past with movies and games. Facebook seems loathe to invest deeply in such things, which is partly due to a fickle web audience. Why pour money into an effort that will dry up in two years? Facebook provides the big top (circus) for all of these third party players to play in. That's Facebook's cash cow, amassing the herd to provide an advertising-friendly atmosphere.
This week the "Facebook Vibes" phenomenon floated around online, which is a name for a web service uncovered in the code of a "FacebookVideoCalling.jar" file that helps drive the new Facebook video chat. Jeff Rose discovered this and everybody's speculating on what it means. The code references a term called "MusicDownloadDialog," which is completely undeclared in meaning, but basically threw gasoline on the fire that is Facebook Music. More grist for the Facebook Music rumors, but it shows that there's something in the software that's not being fully used yet, and Spotify on Facebook could be a part of that.
So let's hope for the best in a Spotify launch this week, as all of the web coverage seems to be showing that everybody is basically foaming at the mouth (myself included) for this whole thing to happen as as it can. The massive, raving attention they received last week provides a great chance to build the kind of momentum to kick Spotify over the top from the beginning.
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.