Conversation on Facebook’s Entry into Music Streaming via the New Product Experimentation team (NPE)

Interview: Facebook’s Entry into Music

Peter:

We’re going to talk about a a product that we found on Product Hunt, which is a social networking site for products ideas, projects, and companies. You should check it out! We found this app that just released, a Beta, called Aux created by an offshoot of Facebook. Cameron, do you want to go ahead and give us a little bit more information about what this App Aux by Facebook is? 

Cameron:

We’re still not super sure either what it is yet, but currently it’s only available in Canada. We were able to do a little digging around on the Internet and saw that some people in Canada were able to test it out. This stemmed from some of our Product Hunt searches which we do regularly to stay updated on the industry. We see really cool new Betas coming out typically and this just propped up on our recommended products based on our typical music streaming research. This social listening product by the New Product Experimentation team of Facebook looks pretty cool. The idea is that it’s their own take on turntable.FM, which for people who don’t know, it was an online DJ site. 

People would be a DJ and they would have different crowds listening to what they were playing through the website and they were able to either “clap” or “boo” on the song suggestions of the DJ. It was really cool and turntable originally had a little cult community, but in 2013, the service collapsed. The main features of Aux appear to be a way for someone to play music and then have other people listen at the same time. What I don’t know about the App is where this music is coming from? What are the catalogs available to be played and what the mechanics of the actual session for Aux? How does it actually work listening in real time? What are the features? How can you actually interact with the app and the people on it? 

Peter:

At first glance it appears that the Aux gets passed around or taken, rather than a queue or shared music space. People are not adding music to the same area. It’s an interesting take to say the least, but I think the ultimate factor always comes down to people wanting to control their music.

Cameron:

There’s so many different ways to actually approach this social musical experience. For example, with Aux are there different rooms, so it’s not you listening to music by yourself, or do you just listen to music in a predefined room that is shared across the website? It seems like the purpose for Aux is for kids to share music in between classes and listen at the same time at least after our initial breakdown of the app.

We think this is a really cool use case it’s also a little bit interesting. We’re still not really sure about what the full product is, but the way that it was released, by Facebook leads for countless speculation to ensue. The NPE is actually an offshoot company that Facebook created.  We did a little bit of digging on the published app, it said it was published by the NPE team LLC. This was confusing, because all of the reports we saw was that it was from Facebook. Upon investigation we realized that in July of this year Facebook created a separate branch of their product, the New Product division, and within this created a team called the NPE or New Product Experimentation team. 

Peter:

To give people people more background, why would a company like Facebook, do an offshoot arm like this instead of just doing it under their main brand?

Cameron:

I think that the experimentation verb explains a lot of what they want. However, they must still maintain those standards of the Facebook product and stability So this separate arm was created where they can rapidly test some really crazy features and products that could be potentially incorporated into other products. 

Peter:

So let me play devil’s advocate for a second. Shouldn’t people be possibly skeptical given the recent PR from facebook around the world and in the US specifically? Should we be scared or cautious about using an an offshoot of Facebook’s app and the data taken from there. If you mentioned that it’s about kids then maybe we really need to think a couple of times before allowing people to use his right? 

Cameron:

We have to scrutinize every product, and I think Facebook is the biggest example because they have a billion people who use the platform. I don’t think that they are more or less honest or disingenuous than any other major company. I would approach it with the same level of caution that you should approach using anything on the web. It’s interesting analyzing what they’re trying to do here. 

On the Aux website they actually say that the purpose of the separate brand name is to set appropriate expectations with our users, because NPE’s team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people. That is their interpretation of the situation it seems.  This may involve more variables than they’re letting onto, but it seems pretty clear that they want to be able to test totally separate things from their main product.  

Peter:

When you put it together like that that, of course they want to do the mass experimentation without hurting their innovation or cash flow in the main business. We’ll see how it shakes out, but we we see this theme of sharable music in many places into the future. 

Cameron:

I think that we talk a lot about the differences between Social Networking Services/Music Streaming services and the melding of the two. Brassroots is a premier music listening experience first and foremost. We want to cultivate the best music streaming experience possible that allows you to take advantage and capitalize in different ways. Popular applications like TikTok for example have a large pillar in music while another in video. The cool thing is people make cool videos with background tracks that are similar to Vine, but because they have the music element it allows for future shareable ability. TikTok recorded seven billion last quarter and in response Facebook released their own version of TikTok with Lasso. There’s not many disadvantages for Facebook to do this, because they’re trying to build their own reach through the mediums. 

Peter:

So let me press on only one last thing that we saw this week, the new AirPods were released. One of the features that they slightly upgraded in these new AirPods was the Bluetooth ability where you can share music with each other if you’re within a close proximity of each other. You both have to have the newest generation AirPods. Brassroots our idea and how we’re implementing it into software is now being joined with amazing hardware which can make these ideas proliferate. Now people are listening to music together on their own if they’re in the same house or area.

Cameron:

Yeah and it’s really cool for Apple to build their hardware product as such. However, Bluetooth 3.0 is allegedly the newest iteration of Bluetooth, and is capable of reaching 150 yards. That would be a game changer! Being able to connect with anyone through Bluetooth within a large proximity has wide possibilities. You could potentially be on the whole other side of the football field or equivalent and be able to still connect through hardware. 

Peter:

I think all these things are aligning for everyone to be more connected with higher bandwdith. I think with music stream specifically, the ultra high bandwidth would be people sharing music and experiencing it together or on a platform that generates collaborative activities in nature. 

Cameron:

I think you’re absolutely right! I think the way it’s going to be most effective is by bringing in data to achieve the desired result both through the actual process of listening to music and the ways that people already enjoy music currently. Think how dynamic this foundation can become in the future; I think that’s where we’re really going to see massive innovation, and why not achieve that with Brassroots. We think some of these innovations in music streaming and the different products in this conversation are just getting started.  It’s going to be really interesting to see the future developments in the space, and if there’s anything that people want to hear us review or talk about let us know. 

For more information on Brassroots make sure to visit brassrootsapp.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *