What Is This Mysterious Facebook Music App?

Facebook Music may not exist, but you may have it installed anyway. Right now if you log into the site and go to Facebook’s “Edit Applications” screen, you’ll probably encounter a new application at the top of the list: Music. And it’s pretty clear that this isn’t just some third party app; the application links to Facebook.com/music, which is the same format used by other official Facebook applications, including photos (Facebook.com/photos) and events (Facebook.com/events). But the application doesn’t work at all — clicking it just brings you to your Facebook News Feed.

Update: Facebook has now removed the application. We’re still waiting on a full explanation.

We reached out to Facebook about the mysterious application. They’ve directed us to a Facebook Music Player app that appears on some Facebook Pages, and say that there may be a bug that’s showing some Pages apps on the editapps.php page (they’re looking into the issue). They also say that the Facebook.com/music site may be related to a now-defunct site that was launched at SXSW a few years ago (it wasn’t a streaming music service). That may well be the case, but the Pages music player application has a different Application ID than this new one does — it doesn’t look like they’re the same thing. Still, Facebook’s spokesperson was pretty clear that there was no new Facebook Music app, stating, “We have no plans to launch a music service on Facebook.”

Facebook long considered launching a free music service, and previously engaged in talks with multiple different streaming services to power the site.  Obviously those didn’t pan out, and in light of Facebook’s promotion of third party apps and pages, they may have decided to ditch the idea entirely.

It’s worth pointing out that one of Facebook’s most popular music applications is iLike, which was recently acquired by MySpace. Facebook and MySpace may not be butting heads as much any more (MySpace has shifted its focus to the ‘socialization of content’ rather than networking with friends) but given their history it’s an interesting arrangement.

Thanks to Will Hankinson for the tip.