We’ve seen several phases of social streaming, with the most notable one being Facebook’s debut of “frictionless” sharing in 2011 – also known as “blatting out everything you play to everyone who’s your friend on Facebook”. A trend that was later, quietly rowed back on by all concerned. We’ve also seen experiments by startups like This Is My Jam to make social sharing more meaningful: not every song you play, but the track that you love most each week.
What next? Rhapsody has announced an interesting partnership with Twitter using its audio cards feature. Rhapsody subscribers can now tap a little tweet icon within its app to share songs to Twitter – with the key feature being that their Twitter followers can then listen to the tracks in full on the social network even if they’re not a subscriber too.
For now, this all works in the US only, with Rhapsody keen to stress that every play will generate a payout for labels and publishers. “Our goal with this launch is to not only help make streaming more social, but also to reinforce that music isn’t free – every song played is accounted for and fully paid up,” said CFO Ethan Rudin, who added in an interview with VentureBeat that the new feature required a renegotiation of Rhapsody’s licensing terms with rightsholders.
Rhapsody isn’t the first streaming service to work with Twitter audio cards – SoundCloud adopted the format in October 2014 – but it’s the first to pay for these free, social plays. The news came as rival Rdio introduced its own new social features: the ability for its users to “reply” to friends who share a track with them; an easier way to do that sharing within its apps; and the automatic addition of artist’s Twitter handles when tracks are shared to that social network from Rdio.