Facebook Limits Use Of 'Listen' To Approved Partners

What’s the difference between listening to music and playing it? Plenty if you’re creating an application on Facebook.

Developers of music apps have an easier time getting Facebook to approve “play” than “listen.”

The latter requires the consent of the copyright holders, while the former doesn’t.

A Facebook spokesperson said via email:

Developers can submit any type of action for their app but we have a separate process in place for “listen” actions where we need to check that the developer has appropriate relationships in place with rights owners. We are updating our developer tool to make the submission process clearer over the coming days. In the meantime, interested music developers can reach out to musicdevelopers@fb.com with questions.

But the creator of MusicsTalk.com, Colin Costello, thinks Facebook unfairly rejected his request to use the open graph action “listen” and shunted him toward a supposedly inferior verb, “play,” for his app.

He said in an email exchange:

This is a huge advantage to sites like Rdio and Spotify, not only did they get use of the open graph way before everyone else, Facebook is restricting others from competing with them by not allowing them to use the action verb “listen.”

Yesterday I was approved for the verb “play.” It works, but isn’t as good as the verb “listen.” I personally think Musicstalk integrates better with Facebook than sites like Spotify, as there is no need to download any software to listen to music.

I wonder how many (other) actions are being reserved for their partners. That answer doesn’t really make any sense. If it’s a rights issue then why are developers allowed to use “play” without them checking to see if the appropriate relationships are in place with the rights owners? You’d think if the developer didn’t have the correct rights in place, Facebook would reject their action whether it was “listen,” “play” or “whatever.”

Readers, do you have any insights into this based on your experiences with music applications on Facebook?

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