Facebook is licensing tracks from Warner Music Group. But before you (or we) get too excited, it’s important to stress that the deal is for a specific use of the music: to accompany slideshows of Facebook users’ photos and videos.
Even so, it’s a noteworthy step forward in the social network’s partnerships with music rightsholders, amid ongoing buzz within the industry about Facebook’s video ambitions.
The New York Post broke the news last night, complete with a quote from Facebook confirming it.
“We are always testing ways to help people better share their stories with friends. Slideshows are a new way for people to share photos and videos in a creative and succinct way,” said a spokesperson.
“To date, we’ve been using Facebook-owned music to accompany these slideshows, we will now be testing the use of a limited amount of music from Warner Music Group as soundtrack options.”
This may not be great news for the cluster of startups – Flipagram for example – that have gone down the ‘licensing music to accompany people’s snaps’ route. It also raises the potential for other kinds of music uses on Facebook around user-generated content: for example, building something akin to Dubsmash or Musical.ly for people to share lip-dub videos.
For now, the Slideshows feature is the latest feather in WMG’s video cap, after the label was early to work with the likes of Vessel, Snapchat and Interlude.
For now, this partnership does not relate to any ambitions Facebook has to deliver music videos to its global audience, as it rolls out monetisation options for native videos on its service, as well as its recently-announced ‘Rights Manager’ tool to provide Content ID-style copyright protection.
Even so, the sight of Facebook in any kind of licensing discussions and music experiments with labels will reverberate around the industry – as well as within the corridors of services like YouTube.