This week’s F8 Developer Conference showcased many upcoming changes for Facebook, including the introduction of the social network’s Open Graph API. Open Graph has already spurred some surprising new partnerships, the most exciting being between Facebook and Pandora, the Internet’s leading music streaming service. With the power of Open Graph and Facebook behind it, Pandora is quickly transforming from a simple online music service to a powerful and exciting social network.
This partnership is a perfect fit for Pandora’s mission of music discovery. Prior to Facebook’s integration, users could discover music based on their own tastes, not those — including friends and family — around them. Now, listeners can find new music based on their friend’s likes and interests, too. Current Pandora users with existing Facebook accounts can opt to have Pandora pull music interests from their user profile, as well as sites that users have “Liked” on Facebook and across the Web. The process of discovering and listening to music becomes interactive, allowing users can share their findings with friends in a fun and social way.
Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk pointed out how much more useful Pandora’s own features will become now that they feature social integration, saying,
“One side effect of this new feature will likely be to encourage Pandora users to add more tracks to their favorites, because now, other people have such an easy way to see them. And the more they sculpt their stations and preferences, the more reason they have to stick with Pandora for their online (and, increasingly, device-based) radio listening.”
It’s a win-win for Pandora and its listeners; Pandora increases and solidifies its user base, and listeners have new and better ways to find and listen to music.
This new partnership may also provide an opportunity for Pandora to open its doors to international users, as the service is currently limited to users in the United States. Because Facebook is such an international network – Facebook says that about 70 percent of its users reside outside the US – Pandora certainly has an incentive to provide its services to a global audience. With last year’s introduction of its paid service, Pandora One, Pandora could also gain a significant amount of revenue by going international.
Pandora’s founder, Tim Westergren, said in a blog post announcing the new features that, “it really brings a wonderful new human dimension to the listening experience.” At a time when it feels like technology is taking the place of human interaction, Pandora and Facebook have found a way to help us make more personal connections again, and providing us with an incentive to do so.