Facebook Is Trying to Extort Money From Musicians and Brands With New Policies, Report Claims

Organic page reach getting down to 1 or 2 percent, money steadily becoming the only way of reaching the Facebook crowd.

Ultimate Guitar

An interesting No Clean Singing report has recently surfaced, claiming that Facebook is "in the process" of cutting down the organic page reach down to mere 1 or 2 percent, basically extorting money from page managers in order for their brands to reach wider crowds.

As Metal Sucks points out, the source has done a "fine job" of tracking changes in the social network's changes in user policy and architecture. Focusing on the latest Facebook changes, the data presented in the report indeed comes as a bit alarming.

What the organic reach slash basically means is that the updates posted by pages you liked will be cut down, forcing the page owners to invest into post boosting in order to reach a wider audience.

Granted, following every single update from your friends and liked pages is an impossible task. Therefore, Facebook introduced their EdgeRank system that determines how often a user will content from a certain page based on his engagement.

As the same source indicates, the number of displayed posts from liked pages has gone from 25% to about 6%, and will likely continue to go down to as little as 1%. Criticizing Facebook for its "bait and switch" strategy, the article accused the company of luring bands and brands by "implicitly promising" them the ability to reach fans for free. Facebook's earning stats only go to support the claim, as the company's earning figures have gone up 76% in the fourth quarter of 2013, summing up to $2.3 billion.

So although major names will likely be able to cope in amidst of the new situation, smaller brands will struggle even more due to a lack of budget to invest in Facebook promotion. No Clean Singing report concludes with the following word of advice:

"If you run a Facebook Page, encourage your readers to like, share, and comment on your posts.

"If you are a Facebook user and want to increase the chances of seeing the FB Pages you care about, like, share, and comment on the status updates posted by those Pages."

75 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Facebook greedy? No way!
    Facebook should be wiped from the planet.
    If everyone who is bitching about Facebook would stop using it then it would not be relevant anymore.
    A lot of us have, but FB is pretty impressive when it comes to sneaking into your life.
    Google is more of the forceful contender. I've never had a facebook and never intend to have one and my life has been pretty unaffected by it. I hear it has been slowing in its popularity though which might explain why it's trying to get its hands into other things.
    Facebook has turned to trash. Whats the ****ing point of liking all these band pages to keep up to date with bands i like and then i never see any of it and no bands use their own websites anymore its ridiculous. Bands stop relying on facebook start your own webpage direct people to that instead it doesnt cost much to host your own site.
    The thing is, though, that people don't want to spend forever cycling through all kinds of different websites. That's what is smart about Facebook. Or at least what would be smart about Facebook, if they didn't do this trick. I'm all for them having to make money, but this is getting very close to the line.
    If your band is relying completely on FB to get ahead, you are doing it wrong.
    Or you're just exploiting social media, as has been the easiest way to get your name out there for the best part of a decade... EDIT: Just read "completely" and yeah you have a point.
    While I don't deny social media is a great way to get your name out there, it has become oversaturated with everyone fighting to get noticed. I still believe the best way to spread the word about your band is to go out and play an awesome show every week and people will start to notice.
    I agree that relying solely on Facebook is not the way to go, however, Facebook is a good way of retaining an audience if their page is active enough, I use it all the time to keep up to date with bands and to keep people up to date with my own music. Stuff like this just makes it shitty to do that.
    The Judist
    Local venues don't like you playing venues in the same area within a 2 week window either side of a gig, for good reason.
    That is bullcrap. You really think booking agents are all in cahoots together? No,they just want to get paid.
    the best way is networking. always has been
    But it's better to make real-life networking connections. The idea that you're going to meet an A&R guy on Facebook is pretty close to impossible.
    We're not talking about making business connections. It's about gaining and communicating with fans in this arena. That's what social media does for music, it's not for finding business partners.
    did you mean to say, "if your band is relying completely on fb to get ahead.. 'yer gonna have a bad time'."?? i like memes.. FB is NOT for musicians. i'm done. have a nice day, everybody!!
    Well Facebook is in fact a business and they have every right to make money off of their product. Don't like it? Find somewhere else to promote your crap. It's not extortion to ask you to pay to use their product, they're not forcing you to do it.
    Why is it that musicians have a hard time understanding this?
    Maybe it's the same reason that venues don't seem to understand that 'Free Exposure' is not the same as paying the musicians that draw in their customers.
    There is a difference but at the same time, not really. Fans of music (for this argument, UG) bitch all the time about how much money big bands make. But yet, the minute you guys are being affected (whether through Facebook or by not being paid at a venue, a venue that probably agreed on not paying you beforehand) you take to the streets bitching. What does it take to make you guys happy? A venue doesn't have to pay you, because you don't have to play there. You don't have to use Facebook, so therefore, Facebook doesn't have to be free for you. Luxury =/= necessity.
    The problem with what you're saying is that people are mad at BIG bands. You didn't say all bands. Small bands deserve money too... I don't think Metallica should make a dime more than Cattle Decapitation, because I think Cattle Decapitation is better. So I'm a little upset that Lars Ulrich has his 800 mansions while the guys from Cattle have to take second jobs just to keep afloat. There's no regulation for music, especially Metal. Bands are just abused thoroughly until they get super popular, and then they become the abusers by neglecting the little bands. A little band can't complain if the venue offers them no money, and a big band can refuse festivals if they aren't paid extra. Everyone wins except for little bands, so I say they have every right to complain, because little bands are the future... You can only buy new Metallica records for so long...
    In general, normal people don't want to listen to music about mutilation and animal rights. If your favorite music is that which most people would find angry and violent and will dislike, don't expect to be able to earn a living playing it.
    But that's a simple economic system called supply and demand. There's not a demand for Cattle Decapitation so venues don't find a reason to supply Cattle Decapitation. However, there is a supply for Metallica, so large venues will want to provide a Metallica concert in order to make money for their business. Small venues will still continue to provide a Cattle concert, but the large places will want to pack the house, so you will see more Metallica concerts than Cattle concerts. Musicians also don't seem to grasp the concept that niche bands fulfill a role for a small group of people. You will not see Cattle packing out The Allstate arena, no matter how much you want to.
    So the key is to make really accessible generic music that nearly anyone can get into? Metallica didn't get where they were making radio hits. More people need to support local smaller acts when they can.
    Because it should be about the music man (Read in Beatnick sounding voice)
    I think it's one thing for Facebook to ask people for money in an effort to obtain more page likes and fans/followers, but it's another thing when someone who opted in to page updates/posts isn't seeing it just because some other company page, who that person also happens to like, paid more. That's kind of like someone who signed up for a company A's email list but he/she won't see it because company B and C paid more to show up in their inbox, even when that person specifically wanted to see A more than B and C. Also, yes it's free to make a Facebook page but it still takes work to build up a following on that page on top of generating your own content and scheduling them. At the end of the day, if this change has proved anything, it's that there's no such thing as free marketing...
    "it's another thing when someone who opted in to page updates/posts isn't seeing it just because some other company page" That's not the way it works. People are complaining about declines in organic reach. You don't bid for organic reach. If someone isn't seeing your posts organically, it's because they're not strongly affiliated with your page enough for the algorithm to conclude "X page fan wants to see Y post". You're incorrectly mixing concepts: organic reach and paid reach. If someone bids more on their paid ad, they have every right to expect that ad to reach more people than the ad that bid less -- that's precisely how PPC advertising works.
    What does the FB login page say? "Sign Up - It’s free and always will be." So there.
    Facebook is a monopoly, there's nothing like it. Facebook is pure information, every piece of information is given by it's users. You really can't blame facebook for anything since it plays by the rules. It has no obligations to it's users. Once you give them information they can do with it what they want and facebook exists for the sole purpose of making money. If they make money with information you gave them for free it's your own stupid fault you gave it away.
    Skynyrd, You are missing the entire point here. Its not about charging people, Its about how Facebook lured and made promises to bands and brands and now that all these bands are apart of it. They want to charge you for it, Give crack for free the first time then sell your house the following week
    You know, I've been in the digital marketing industry for around eight years. I watched the development of Facebook from a closed community to where it is today -- a global force and the most targeted, powerful advertising platform in the history of mankind. Not a single time did I read any statement from Facebook implying it was free or would always remain free. This idea that Facebook was going to be some free marketing avenue to reach billions of people was nothing more than a delusion and anyone who is pissed that the delusion was wrong is being downright ridiculous.
    I bet you're also the kind of guy who would defend the "pay to play" scheme that is done by so many venues here in the UK as well. If a page has a 1000 people who liked it, then I should expect that all 1000 of those people can see whatever that page is posting, after all, they opted in for the updates in the first place, that's like paying YouTube to show your updates to all of your subscribers.
    Also, the pay to play is advertised ahead of time. Once again, you can either pay for your early publicity or you can wait for a free gig to come by. It's your choice. I don't condemn nor condone the pay to play scheme, because it's just one facet of the music industry and to demonize the entire industry for that one facet is insane. Some venues want their performers to pay to play and that's how it is. If you can live with the guilt of knowing that you got in with money, then fine. If not there are other venues wait for a gig to come around. Use that time to practice and better yourself so that when you do play, you have a better show.
    Oh I've waiting for and played plenty of free gigs, don't get me wrong. It just gets my goat sometimes because a lot of us want to play some of those venues (because some of them are actually pretty good), but don't want to get screwed over. Myself and many other bands like us have little to no money to begin with, at the end of the day, so I, along with many others condemn it, I even know a PR person who condemns pay to play or paying to boost posts etc. for the exact reason that you've stated. "If you built it, they will come".
    No. This wouldn't be a positive experience for users at all. Do you realize how flooded the News Feed would be if every single page update was placed there? There would literally be thousands of updates per day for users who had Liked many pages over the years. This would also be terrible for brands, as the competition to gain attention in the feed would be ridiculously high -- right now, it's fairly reasonable given fans see somewhere in the ballpark of 300ish updates in their feeds per day. If you're in that 300 (about 30% of those 300 are brand page updates, so it's certainly feasible), you have a high chance of being noticed. Facebook has been filtering posts since very early in its development. This concept isn't new in any way. People are merely complaining because they want free shit and we live in a universe where nothing is free.
    They have every right to do that. Fuck you, Zuckerberg, but it's legally fair.
    I've never had Facebook and I'm so fkn happy bout that. It's turned to mess.
    Everyday I rejoice that I've been able to keep away from the hell hole Facebook is. Considering the shit I see there that other people show me and all the stories of bad stuff that happened because of it, I'm glad I still rock life the old way.
    It's not fair as a page admin because it's not fair as a general facebook user. More of your feed will be filled up with irrelevant posts from big bands and companies yet you won't be able to see the posts you're genuinely interested in seeing from smaller artists who don't have the money to get on your feed.
    I wonder if this is really Facebook trying to profit from undiscovered artists or because they received some fat checks from big-time record labels? With the ease today of obtaining quality recording software, the availability of learning how produce and mix records, and the ability to distribute your works thanks to social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, a truth labels don't want to get out is they need fresh acts to profit off of more than the acts need them to get noticed. If you are willing to work at it, you don't need the middle man to get legions of fans. So how does the middle man keep their cashflow rolling? Cut off the distribution lines. Maybe not the case here, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was.
    Publicly traded company now. They must please the shareholders. All about the dollar now
    Facebook is a platform for social games and messaging friends. While it was a time when was possible for bands to self promote for free, it was never the intended purpose for the FB.
    The real problem here is this, when you pay FB to promote your page/band, FB use click farms. Click farms are people who are paid by FB to like said pages. They have no real interest in what they like. Your wasting your $.
    Incorrect. If you target your ads poorly, you'll receive poor results. If you target countries such as India, Pakistan, etc. where Like farms are quite common, yes, you're going to get shitty results from the ad. I understand people watched a viral YouTube video and suddenly think they're digital marketing experts, but you're not. There are tons of people receiving outstanding, measurable results from targeted Facebook advertising. The notion that Facebook would purposefully undercut their own business model -- its primary source of income and, therefore, its existence as a company -- is nonsense. That's not to say they shouldn't be striving to minimize the impact of Like farms and similar tactics, but it's not as if they're employing fake people to Like pages.
    I hate facebook, signed up few years back as I have fam in France, Englund and USA, it has turned people batty. People seem to get offended if you don't write stuff to them and it feels like an invasion of my privacy. the end.
    It is probably the same people that say "f**k FB" that are on it every frickin day to see how many likes there stupid picture or irrelevant video got. FB is a FREE service, it can't get any more convenient then that.
    Danjo's Guitar
    To be honest, I feel like facebook is a horrible way to advertise. I doubt very many bands have actually gained a large percentage of their fans from facebook, more like existing fans use facebook to keep up with the band, and there are better ways to do that, like email lists. And I don't understand why businesses want existing costumers to like them on facebook. I am not going to go to a dentist because my friend liked them on facebook.
    As someone who works in the digital marketing industry... EdgeRank hasn't existed for over a year. This article is full of ignorance. Don't write about topics you're not educated on. The headline is also misleading (as is standard on UG). There's not the slightest bit of behavior in any of this that could reasonably be construed as extortion. Aside from all that, reach is an overstated metric. It's also very rarely measured correctly by people, because most people don't know what the hell they're talking about. There are far more important metrics and this obsession over declining reach is a waste of time.
    "It's also very rarely measured correctly by people, because most people don't know what the hell they're talking about." Is you amongst them?
    I deleted it a half year ago. Almost all my friends are abroad too. If your a loser keep it. Bad communication skills keep it. Havent reached adult hood where you have to talk out of you rmouth to make real conversation keep it. If you like being fake keep it.
    I don't mind FB but I feel the people at Facebook must be so bored with their jobs that all they do is look for crap to change. I can imagine a day at the office. Complete silence. A cricket chirps...
    Absolutely! My band has around 500 likes on Facebook. We posted a song from our EP about a month ago... The organic reach was 16 people. Out of 500 likes, it only went out to 16. That's messed up.
    This article is pretty disliked... hey thumb you're pointing the wrong way.