Slowly but surely, Facebook’s music-licensing strategy is coming in to focus. Having announced a deal with Universal Music Group before Christmas – which included its recorded-music and publishing divisions – now the social network has an agreement with publisher Sony/ATV.
The broad details of what the deal allows are the same as Universal’s. “It provides Sony/ATV’s songwriters with a unique opportunity to earn royalties from the use of their music on both Facebook and Instagram,” explained Sony/ATV.
“Under the agreement, users will be able to upload and share videos on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus that contain compositions licensed from Sony/ATV’s catalog as well as personalise their music experiences with songs from the catalogue.”
Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier hailed a deal that he said “recognises the value that music brings to their service” and predicted “a long and prosperous relationship”.
Bandier had previously been one of the more outspoken publishers on Facebook’s licensing responsibilities, telling Music Ally in December 2016 that “Facebook is on everyone’s agenda… they are clearly on the agenda of all music publishers, all record companies and all of the trade associations”.
As regularly predicted in 2017, Facebook’s initial focus is licensing deals to cover user-uploaded videos (with music) on its platform. But the breadth of these first deals – the inclusion of Instagram and Oculus, as well as the reference to personalised music experiences – is a welcome sign that Facebook wants to do more with music than simply cover its UGC liabilities.
As more label and publisher deals are signed, we’re closer to finding out exactly what those ambitions might be.