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FaceTunes

Facebook. It pretty much dominates the internet these days, doesn't it? It's where you blog, it's where you post photographs, share links, chat, flirt and even argue. But there's one area where Facebook has never really competed: Music.

Until now. It's widely believed that Facebook is preparing to launch an integrated music service, possibly as soon as this week. What no-one's sure of, though, is what form it'll take. Surely Facebook won't actually offer a full, wholly-owned music service to rival iTunes or Spotify - it's not their style. More likely, they'll partner with a music service so people can share links to music within Facebook and the receiver can listen to the song then and there, streaming it for free, without leaving the site. (Similar to the way Facebook auto-embeds YouTube videos, but with the added bonus of free access to music that might otherwise require a paid account.)

The question is: who's the partner? Spotify is the biggest player in the streaming music world, but it's a program, not a web service, which could make plugging into Facebook tricky. But other, web-based rivals like Rdio don't have free accounts, so it's hard to see why they'd give free access to Facebook users.

So who will it be? Well, as CNET reports, 'We may finally have the answer to the great mystery of who Facebook will partner with to bring a music service to its massive social network: Everyone.'

You see, blogger Yvo Schaap has done some poking around in the code of some major music streaming service, and uncovered what he thinks is evidence that they're preparing to partner with Facebook. Several major services, including Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody, Soundcloud, Rdio and video site VEVO have all added a reference in their code to an audio format called 'audio/vnd.facebook.bridge.' That'd be a 'bridge' which would link that file on their servers with some sort of related file on Facebook, enabling the file to play on Facebook's site.

To add further fuel to the flame of rumour, MOG and Rdio have just announced they're introducing limited free accounts, which would enable them to play nicely with any Facebook music-sharing plan.

As interesting as the list of those who have the code is the list of those who don't, which includes Pandora, MySpace and Last.fm among others.

So all in all, it looks certain something is coming up which makes it super-easy to share music with your friends through Facebook and will let them listen to it, for free, and probably without leaving the Facebook site. This could be big, folks. Stay tuned this week - if the announcement happens, you'll be the first to know.

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