Facebook has stepped up its efforts to persuade musicians and filmmakers that the so-called social utility can also be used as a tool to connect with fans.
This, of course, is MySpace territory.
Page templates are now offered by Facebook, specifically designed for music and film, that come bundled with a number of useful applications for media playback, e-commerce and marketing - both official and specially skinned third-party apps.
The music template Page offers the ability to:
- Send updates about tours and concerts
- Showcase new releases and post your discography
- Add Facebook Music Player to stream your music and post buy links
- Sell tickets and merchandise
- Engage fans with rich media and streaming video
- Import photos from concerts anywhere in the world
While the film template Page will:
- Showcase behind-the-scenes videos and photos
- Enable users to post reviews and comments
- Let users purchase tickets and check showtimes
Facebook is also keen to promote the viral opportunities of a dedicated Page, since users who become "fans" of an artist's page will see updates appear in their Facebook activity stream.
As Josh Catone writes (over at ReadWriteWeb), MySpace still offers a lot more visual customization than Facebook - a good and a bad thing - and artists who are keen to have more control over their brand and want to be more creative with their Web presence, will appreciate MySpace's open canvass compared to the strict templates that Facebook offers.
Having said that, it's the network effects that will be of most interest to artists overall, with regards to either site, and to that end, Facebook's large userbase and virally efficient platform will appeal greatly.