The music industry can benefit from Facebook premium video plans


With rightsholders watching Facebook’s evolving music strategy carefully – including publishers notching up their pressure on the social network to agree licensing deals – the appearance of its VP of partnerships Dan Rose at the Code Media conference yesterday will be of considerable interest.

Rose talked about Facebook’s next moves in video, including its desire to commission a slate of 5-10 minute content, which in the early stages it will pay the creators to make. Only in the early stages though.

“Our goal is to get it seeded and then move to a model that scales over time with rev-share,” said Rose, according to Recode. “Our business model in all of these areas is going to be rev-share, and that’s our hope with live as well.”

Facebook Live has already shown off this strategy: companies like BuzzFeed and the New York Times were paid under the terms of one-year deals to broadcast on Facebook, but those deals are now ending. “We’re going to probably extend some of those for a while longer just to make sure people have a chance to transition, but the longterm model is rev-share,” said Rose yesterday.

Facebook’s plans for premium (but still shorter-form) video should be an opportunity for the music industry as well as for MCNs and media companies. As with Snapchat, Spotify and other platforms, there’s an opportunity for labels and artists to dream up their own formats based around 5-10 minute episodes, and then (for a limited period) bag funding from the platform owners to test those ideas.

Yes, there are licensing headaches around formats that use the music itself, but that should not be a barrier to developing these format ideas. Or as several speakers put it at the recent NY:LON Connect conference, for labels and artists to ‘become media companies’ in creating video formats that go beyond the traditional four-minute music video.

Rose’s confirmation yesterday that Facebook is preparing to launch its video-heavy smart-TV app in the coming weeks is another prod to up the efforts on this front.

Written by: Stuart Dredge