Facebook Music: Social network may rival Spotify and Apple with its own streaming service
Facebook is reported to be planning an audio streaming service, potentially creating a rival to Apple and Spotify's music services.
The social network is currently in the advanced stages of launching a music video service similar to YouTube that will pay artists for video streams using advertising revenue.
However, according to the music website Music Ally, this is a stepping stone on the way to a full music service that could make the market even more crowded than at present.
As well as Apple Music, which launched last week, and Spotify; Jay-Z's Tidal, Rdio, Deezer, Google and Microsoft are all competing for users. However, Facebook may believe it has a role to play.
Any plans are likely to be at an early stage, with many technical details still to be worked out. Facebook could speed up the process by buying a streaming service, as Apple did with Beats.
Facebook has several differences with other technology companies that make a streaming service an interesting proposition.
Firstly, it is a free service: Unlike Apple, for example, people are not used to handing over their credit card details to the company.
However, it has a highly-accurate (by industry standards) and lucrative targeted advertising network. This may enable it to make free, or discounted, music streaming work: Spotify has a free tier, but artists have voiced dissatisfaction at the royalties from it, and it is partially a mechanism to encourage users to sign up for the paid version.
Facebook is also, naturally, social-oriented. It could tout its sharing capabilities as an advantage that would allow users to see what their friends are listening to, and perhaps use its reams of personal data to make better music recommendations.
It should be said, however, that this didn't work particularly well for Twitter, whose music service launched in 2013 but has been quietly retired.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, built a music programme called Synapse Media Player in high school, before creating Facebook at Harvard. The app was designed to "learn" the listener's music habits, and recommend new songs based on it. Zuckerberg turned down offers from AOL and Microsoft to buy Synapse.