Facebook Signs a Massive Music Licensing Deal with the World’s Biggest Record Label. Here’s What That Means for Us.

Ever seen a music video on Facebook that suddenly disappears? Facebook has been legally bound to take down these videos if the postings violate copyright law. Those takedowns will now happen less frequently now that Facebook has signed a global multi-year agreement in which Universal Music Group has licensed both its recorded music and publishing rights for video for not only Facebook by Instagram and Oculus.

The press release reads like this:

The partnership will facilitate deeper engagement between artists and fans, empowering users to express themselves through music, share the songs they love and build communities around music-fueled culture. Enabling a variety of features across Facebook’s platforms, the agreement is intended to serve as a foundation for a strategic partnership roadmap that will deliver new music-based experiences online.

All right, but what does that mean for the average Facebook user?

  • Facebook will immediately stop taking down re-posts of music videos–as long as they’re part of the Universal Music Group, er, universe. Given that UMG owns about one-third of the musical recordings on the planet, that’s a lot of music videos.
  • You can bet that artists like Kayne West, Lady Gaga, Eminem, U2, Adele, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are going to take advantage of this situation. How? Trust me, they’ll come up with a new wrinkle in their social media strategies. Remember that the deal also covers Instagram and Oculus, both Facebook properties.
  • If you choose to post a video of you covering a song, it’ll continue to live on rather than being taken down–but only if it’s a cover of something owned by UMG.
  • If you hate when your Facebook friends post themselves covering a song, you’re going to see a lot more of them.
  • There’s more coming in terms of “music-based products” created in a partnership between Facebook and UMG. What those might be is still TBD.
  • How much is this worth to UMG? Dunno, but it must be a lot. A helluva lot.
  • Now that Facebook has made a deal with the biggest label, it’s probably just a matter of time before Sony, Warner and groups representing indie labels also make a deal.
  • Could this open the door to a Facebook-hosting streaming music service? And if that’s in the cards, what does this mean with Facebook’s current relationship with Spotify? We’ll see.

If you want to go deeper into the situation, there’s more information here, here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Facebook Signs a Massive Music Licensing Deal with the World’s Biggest Record Label. Here’s What That Means for Us.

  • December 24, 2017 at 2:57 am

    Adele is now under Sony.


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