There is lots to say about what Facebook announced at its annual f8 conference last night, but the news of most immediate interest to the music industry is a new tool called Rights Manager.
It’s essentially Facebook’s equivalent of YouTube’s Content ID, albeit focused more on managing copyrighted video content uploaded to the social network and tackling infringement, rather than monetising user uploads of it.
The Rights Manager tool will enable rightsholders to: “Easily upload and maintain a reference library of video content to monitor and protect, including live video streams; Specify permitted uses of each video by setting match rules; Identify and surface new matches against your protected content so you can review them and file a report if needed; Whitelist specific Pages and profiles who have permission to use your copyright content; and Outsource management, monitoring and protection of your content by using our Rights Manager API” according to Facebook.
Facebook has drawn complaints about how it handles copyrighted videos for some time, although for once, it hasn’t been the music industry doing most of the complaining.
Instead, YouTube channels and the MCNs that run them have been angry at the scale of ‘freebooting’ – where people rip videos from YouTube then upload them to Facebook from their own pages, in order to draw likes and engagement.
But for music, the launch of Rights Manager could be a big step towards Facebook getting a bigger catalogue of music videos – albeit only as it expands its current tests to share ad revenues with video rightsholders into something more formalised.
The other key announcement at f8 was called Messenger Platform, which is a way for brands and businesses to have “deeper interactions” with customers within the Facebook Messenger app. And one of the key features within that is chatbots: AI entities capable of providing information and content to the messaging app’s 900 million users by chatting to them.
“Anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customised communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages,” as Facebook put it.
Chatbots, whether living within messaging apps or on digital services – like streaming services – could have a fascinating role to play in the way people discover and share music in the years (and decades) ahead.
There’s a lot of hype around the area – “bots are the new apps” already feels like a cliché – but as with blockchain technology, that hype shouldn’t put the music industry off exploring the genuine potential.
In the shorter term, though, it’s Rights Manager that could herald a big step in Facebook’s relationships with music rightsholders. Or as industry consultant Sammy Andrews put it overnight in a blog post:
“What else have they got aside from ContentID, a few billion eyeballs, consistent daily engagement from all demographics, where people actually hang out and communicate and consume content, show they ‘LIKE’ a band, 360 video, music content that can be shared instantly and… did we mention the forthcoming (and slightly delayed) Oculus Rift?” she wrote.
“For a long time now there have been *rumours* of label talks with Facebook and we all know they have a working ad network… and beyond that they have been testing ad on video. And…. all this with the major label Youtube re-negotiations. How’s that for timing?”
Andrews is grabbing her popcorn in readiness. So are we.
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