Facebook signs first-ever music deal with a record label

by Edgar Hayes December 22, 2017, 0:37
Facebook signs first-ever music deal with a record label

Facebook says that in the pipeline there are plans to open up "a vast library of music" across multiple social features, though isn't saying exactly what that will entail. "We are excited to bring that to life on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger in partnership with Universal Music Group", said Tamar Hrivnak, Facebook's head of music business development and partnerships. 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 deal, announced on Thursday, also applies to Facebook's Instagram and its virtual reality arm Oculus. This is the first major music company to license its recorded and publishing catalog for social experiences - including video - across the social media platform. The accords establish royalty rates between YouTube and rights holders for professional music videos and user-uploaded clips, and pave the way for YouTube to introduce a new paid music service early next year.

"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", he said in the statement.

Facebook's agreement with Universal - especially if competitors Warner Music and Sony Music reach similar deals - could eventually raise questions for Vevo, a site created in 2009 by the three big labels to monetize their videos.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., is trying to get people to watch and share more videos on its platform.

Neither Facebook nor UMG are saying how much today's deal is worth, only describing it as a "global, multi-year agreement".

The move is the first step to competing with streaming giants such as Google-owned YouTube's over online music videos.

Facebook has increasingly gone head-to-head with YouTube on its signature turf of videos.

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