If we were to sum up Facebook’s (almost) annual developers conference, F8, in just a few words, it would look a little something like this: Messenger, bots, music integration, bots, transparent imitations of existing Snapchat features and bots (did we mention bots?)

Here’s our thoughts on how some of their biggest reveals and new features are going to impact and be used by the music and events industry.

Music Streaming Integration

Spotify has already been integrated into Messenger through a chat extension and Apple Music isn’t far behind. This means users can share music recommendations within the chat platform. Only 30 second clips are allowed, before being redirected to the app itself.

While from a consumer point of view this is a handy tool, it will have a fairly nominal effect on businesses beyond sharing your artists’ tracks with an audience that is likely already engaged.  One way we think it could be used well is through automatic canned responses, which Messenger already allows. You might not be able to get back to someone straight away, but you can provide a track they can listen to while they wait. It’s hold music, but better.

We’re also pretty keen to trial the Spotify bot, which can provide music recommendation to users based on things like mood and genre. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds from an advertiser point of view, to generate greater exposure for artists and events.

Bots

Facebook made a bit of a racket about bots in 2016, and the outcome was fairly underwhelming. They’re shouting about them again this year, but it’s looking more promising.

There’s a huge focus on making new bots easily discoverable, through the ‘Discovery’ tab in Messenger. This means users will be able to find relevant bots really simply, which musically.com thinks will be a handy tool for some already existing music discovery bots.

Within Discover, there’s now a QR reader and unique QR code for all users (where have we seen this before?) This could be a useful tool from a customer service point of view when you’re developing any collateral – think posters and tickets.

The bots certainly seem smarter in 2017, and are further threatening the endangered species of journalists with handy little acts like this one, following Theresa May’s shock election announcement. These automated responses may be a new approach to direct marketing, and it looks like there’s plenty of fun to be had with them.

Snapchat copycats

As we saw with the QR codes, Facebook is continuing to cannibalise Snapchat by essentially copying it’s key features.

We’ll see camera lenses and geofilters roll out globally, which will be open source and fully customisable.

To be honest, this actually looks better than Snapchat’s offering (soz, Snappers.) Anyone can create a lense or filter, and they’re completely free. With thousands of lenses available, it’s likely businesses will be required to spend a little coin to get priority placement within the list (and probably to access user insights.) But, considering the behemoth size of Facebook it can still afford to undercut the notoriously exxy Snapchat in this space. It’s definitely something to keep in mind for tours, festivals and launches.

Facebook is also heralding the creation of the first ‘augmented reality platform’ which will include some fairly gimmicky features. Let’s wait and see how this goes.

This will all take place within the Messenger app, using the until now quite irritating swipe-to-camera function.   

If you want a big LOL at just how much Facebook is copying Snapchat, check out this sizzle reel.

And the rest…

Virtual assistance (aka the new Siri): You might have seen M around Facebook, but you’re about to see a whole lot more of the long-awaited AI assistant. Nosey by nature (or rather, programming), M will pop up in your Messenger conversations, offering suggestions on where to eat, where to book holidays and so on and so forth. The epitome of laziness is ever-closer.

Controlling things with your mind: Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s research and development division, Building 8, announced that she and her team are working on a neural interface that will (wait for it) allow someone to type with just their mind. If true, the implications this could have, for Facebook and beyond would be pretty, damn amazing.

Touched for the very first time: Another crazy sounding development from Building 8 is skin sensor technology. Currently in the works, the software and hardware would encourage the skin to mimic the way the brain and of course, your ears process sound frequencies, allowing you to essentially hear through your skin.

Internet in case of emergency: Tether-Tennas will allow areas with interrupted Internet connections to get re-connected via tethered helicopters. Acting as a backup during natural disasters and the like, this innovation will help communities stay connected whilst rebuilding.

How’s your sunglasses collection? Bid it farewell. You won’t be able to wear them with the widespread rollout of augmented reality glasses (set to be available in 2022). Practical and cool (maybe).

BLSTR Group.