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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

iLike’s next splash on Facebook, and now Windows

Get ready for the next wave of iLike.

The Seattle music startup is expanding its offerings today with a new sidebar for Windows Media Player, giving the WMP crowd the same free music referral and sharing features of iLike’s iTunes sidebar.

Also rolling out today is an expanded iLike presence on Facebook, where iLike is already the poster child application developer.

The company is enabling users to incorporate the iLike sidebar into their Facebook profiles, in addition to the iLike widgets that made it the social network’s dominant music service.

That means iLike users can display and share their entire iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries on Facebook, and not just a hand-picked sample of their favorite music. Friends can then copy playlists and listen to samples of the music.

The company is planning to release the upgrades around 9 p.m.

Simultaneously, iLike is ramping up its artist platform, which helps musicians tap into the company’s huge database of fans’ music preferences.

Co-founder Hadi Partovi said 40 percent of major artists are already using the platform.

“We’re getting to the point where it will soon be everybody,” he said.

Examples he shared: Faith Hill recently used the platform to post a video taken offstage by a cameraphone before her “Good Morning America” performance, and 50 Cent released a new music video exclusively on iLike for a few days.

The startup’s breakthrough came when it pounced on the opportunity to develop Facebook applications, after the social network opened itself up as a developer platform in May.

Unlike his former boss, Steve Ballmer, Partovi is bullish on the longevity of Facebook.

But it looks like iLike is putting itself in a position to keep growing even if Facebook tapers off. Now that it’s in the limelight, it’s being approached by other companies interested in having iLike widgets on their sites.

Its services are also becoming more prominent at Ticketmaster, iLike’s major investor, and its brand is more widespread in the music industry.

Partovi said the goal is to have iLike become the equivalent of MTV for the digital music era. Maybe it will end up selling to Viacom.

A closer rival is Microsoft, which has incorporated iLike-ish social networking features into the next version of its Zune music service.

Zune’s even using the tagline “I Like My Zune” in its marketing, although it hasn’t given iLike any APIs to plug the iLike sidebar onto the Zune software jukebox.

Here are screenshots of the new stuff from iLike. Here is the Windows Media Player sidebar:

Source: iLike

iLike’s Windows Media Player sidebar.

Here is a Facebook page including the full library and playlist data pulled from the iLike sidebar:

Source: iLike

iLike sidebar data added to Facebook.

Comments | More in | Topics: Digital media, Startups


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