Facebook Music could give Spotify and others new social wrap

Facebook is believed to be readying a considerable play for the music and video market, with heavy integration between music services like Spotify and the social network. Set for launch at f8 2011, Facebook's developer conference, according to GigaOm's sources the new push for social music will include partnerships with a range of streaming media services and a new "Music" tab leading to a brand new dashboard.

This "Music Dashboard" will work alongside a persistent play/pause button at the bottom of the screen, roundabout where the Facebook Chat icon is currently. If you're listening to music through one of the services Facebook has partnered with – and you've logged in via Facebook Connect – then the button will control the audio playing at that time. It will also control playback of a track discovered on Facebook.

The site will keep a summary page of all the songs listened to on each service, along with the tracks you've listened to most frequently. In the Music Dashboard, meanwhile, Facebook will flag up any occasions where friends listen to the music you've recommended or included on your profile, any songs they've recommended themselves, and what they've recently been listening to. The latter will also open up to include the top songs and top albums being played, complete with cover art.

Finally, there's a "happening now" ticker in the upper right corner of the screen, which supposedly combines playback information for you and your friends, along with other status updates from the Facebook wall. This new ticker may become a more persistent part of the Facebook experience, showing up on pages other than the Music Dashboard.

It's unclear whether Facebook will actually be looking to tie the new music functionality into a retail service, offering paid downloads of tracks that get recommended, and nor are the identities of the music partners known. Pandora and Last.fm seem likely candidates, however.

Last week, rumors surfaced that Facebook would be taking on Apple's App Store using its own HTML5 software distribution service. Known as "Project Spartan" the system would use the browser as an app platform, rather than standalone titles. Meanwhile, the social network is also believed to be finalizing an iPad app.