New feature turns Facebook friends into DJs

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) --- You gotta love another opportunity to put your friends to work.

This week Facebook announced a new feature that lets you see what music your friends are listening to and then -- this is the new part -- listen right along with them. That may sound kinda blah on first read, but think of it this way: You can turn your friends into your own personal DJs, listening right along with their playlists and chatting about it as you go.

The feature leans heavily on Spotify, the free music-streaming service that came to the U.S. in July and has gotten a huge boost in popularity from the fact that it integrates so closely with Facebook's platform. You've probably noticed Facebook posts like "John is listening to Beyonce" or "Doug is listening to Rihanna" (hey, we like a party) popping up in your news feed.

Now you can take that information and join in.

    It seems like a cool way to discover new music. And also, as Gizmodo pointed out, a pretty direct rip-off of a start-up company we wrote about in June called Turntable.fm, which got popular with the tech set.

    This is one of the downsides of being a small but innovative company -- the big dogs steal your ideas.

    Gizmodo says:

    Facebook hasn't commented on whether or not the feature will allow the DJ in control to hand off their selector abilities, but given that it will be visible to a much wider crowd and starts rolling out to Spotify users today, Turntable.fm should be scared. Very scared.

    It's worth noting that the Facebook "listen with" feature works with several music-streaming services, not just Spotify. You and your friends both have to use the same streaming service, though, in order to listen together.

    I'll give the final word to Facebook, which is supporting technology that continues music's evolution as something that's shared, not owned, and is best enjoyed by a group of people, rather than by a loner:

    Music is one of the most powerful and fun ways to connect. Whether it's at a concert with a bunch of people or on a long car ride with your best buddy, we love listening to music with our friends. But what if you could listen to music with your friends when you're alone, like at work, at home or on the go? Today, with music services on Facebook, there's a new way to listen with friends.

    I'll leave it to you to discuss that transition in the comments.