Yesterday, Facebook launched a new feature that aims to bring us all closer together through music. Acknowledging that music is best when it's a social experience, "Listen With" allows you to listen instantly to the same song as Facebook friends and chat about it with them.
The feature becomes activated when you hover over a friend's music note, which appears next to their name on the real-time activity ticker if they are listening to a song using a Facebook-integrated streaming service – notably Spotify, Rdio, MOG or Rhapsody. Clicking on the "Listen With" button opens up the song through that same streaming service.
"Listen With" also lets you tune into conversations about a specific song or artist via Facebook Chat, which also gets integrated with the music note. Up to 50 friends and mutual friends can join the listening group through the activity ticker.
The new Facebook features play up the same simultaneous listening and DJing experience first created by Turntable.fm, although the music start-up has focused recently on users discovering new music via public rooms of a certain genre and celebrity DJs. "Listen With" also gives artists extra exposure, with a link to their Facebook page appearing whenever one of their songs is in rotation.
Facebook's real-time listening experience became available to Spotify users yesterday and will launch with Rdio users in the next few days. Facebook will continue to bring in new music partners in 2012. "Listen With" already promises endless possibilities, though: if it gets incorporated into Pages and with no limit on the number of users who can join in, how kick-ass would it be to have a listening session hosted by Calvin Harris or Wiz Khalifa?
• The Next Year in Music Technology