Facebook signs deal with music label Universal Music

A joint statement did not specify the terms but hinted that the agreement would address compensation by YouTube, a constant source of irritation within the music industry. The video site already has a YouTube Music platform and the advertising-free YouTube Red subscriptions, but it is reportedly looking to set up a more elaborate site on the model of the major, on-demand music services.

The two parties will also partake in developing 'experimental new music-based products to these Facebook platforms, with the goal of catalysing innovation to develop the next generation of music products that best engage social consumers'. Eventually, the functionality of the agreement will expand across other social features, including Messenger, with users being able to access a vast library of music.

The deal, announced this afternoon (December 21), will give users permission to legally upload and share videos which contain UMG-licensed music across Facebook, Instagram and Occulus for the very first time.

So, on the one hand this is what publishers and labels have been asking for in 2017 - an initial deal to license Facebook for the music contained within user-uploaded videos.


A spokesperson for Universal Music had not responded to a request for clarification, as of publishing. "We look forward to Facebook becoming a significant contributor to a healthy ecosystem' for music that will benefit artists, fans and all those who invest in bringing great music to the world".

And the big question - the reason music rightsholders are genuinely excited about Facebook going deeper on music, beyond any big cheques being waved at them - is what can Facebook do that *isn't* just another $9.99-a-month music-streaming service with or without a free tier?

Video is a victor on Facebook. Seeing this as "Facebook strikes deal to make its own Spotify" is missing the bigger opportunity, but it's very early days.

Facebook is trying to get people to watch and share more videos.

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