Facebook: Not so music-friendly, actually

Facebook may be strides ahead of MySpace when it comes to sheer membership, but the older social networking service has it all over the young buck in terms of music integration.

Facebook

Although I was resistant to Facebook at first, staunchly clinging to MySpace until all but three of my friends ceased to use it (thereby making it all but pointless), there is one thing in particular that has kept Facebook in my favor since I made the switch. The social-networking service provides an excellent medium for sharing content, particularly quick bits of information via links posted to your Wall or that of a friend. The ability to display (or hide) photos is also quite handy.

But if there's one place Facebook has failed to excel, it's in the music department--MySpace has it all over its competitor in that regard. Sure, you can post Pandora stations to your wall (but only yours) and share certain specific tracks from band pages--when they exist. If not, links to YouTube videos of individual tracks work in a pinch. But the overall integration is inelegant at best, with no dedicated space for all of the music you've recommended in the past and limited options for posting playlists. So what's a Facebooking music lover to do?

Music WithMe
Hmm...and I have to get my friends to join? Screenshot by Jasmine France

The seemingly obvious answer is the rally call generally applied to the iPhone: there's an app for that. Most recently, Music WithMe updated its Facebook application to offer a more seamless, user-friendly experience. The app lets you recommend individual tracks and playlists from your own iTunes library, with the new version offering more details on each playlist and including album art for the songs. You can also listen to a 30-second preview of each track, "like" playlists and tracks, and purchase directly from iTunes.

As you may have ascertained, this option is imperfect at best. For one thing, you can share only things from iTunes, which is limiting for those who prefer to manage their music with other programs. Also, your friends can listen only to 30 second previews of a track rather than the full song. Finally, you can share only music that you have in your library, so if you just happen upon a song or album that you have yet to download, you can't quickly recommend it to a friend or post it on your wall.

So while I appreciate the effort put forth by apps like Music WithMe to make Facebook more music-friendly, it and the others I've come across fall short. Is there some great method for sharing or recommending music on Facebook that I'm missing? Or are you also disappointed by the options available? Please let me know in the comments below.

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