Status update: Universal and Facebook seal huge global music deal

Facebook

Facebook and Universal Music Group (UMG) have announced a global, multi-year licensing agreement.

Under the terms of the deal, UMG becomes the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogues for video and other social experiences across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus.

It means users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music and personalise their music experiences on the platforms, while sharing videos with friends and family. In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features.

The deal follows UMG’s partnership with YouTube, announced earlier this week, and its agreement with Spotify earlier this year.

Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships, Facebook, said: “There is a magnetic relationship between music and community building. We are excited to bring that to life on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger in partnership with UMG. Music lovers, artists and writers will all be right at home as we open up creativity, connection and innovation through music and video." 

Michael Nash, EVP of digital strategy, Universal Music Group, said: “Together, Facebook and UMG are creating a dynamic new model for collaboration between music companies and social platforms to advance the interests of recording artists and songwriters while enhancing the social experience of music for their fans. This partnership is an important first step demonstrating that innovation and fair compensation for music creators are mutually reinforcing – they thrive together. 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.” 

Despite some industry concern at issues such as its lack of a PRS For Music licence, the social media tech giant has been making overtures to the music business including a recent BPI event in the UK.

A spokesperson for PRS for Music said: “Conversations with Facebook and ICE, our online licensing vehicle, are ongoing and we look forward to reaching an agreement.”

In an internal memo, UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said: “As our new relationship with Facebook demonstrates: by continually re-evaluating how to bring our artists’ music and videos to global audiences, by developing new and increasingly progressive business models and by spurring competition among both established tech players and startups alike, UMG has been and will continue to be the most significant catalyst for our industry’s growth.

“As with our deal with Spotify earlier this year and our license renewal with YouTube, our deal with Facebook leverages the experience we’ve gained and the wealth of data we’ve amassed to win both greater flexibility as to how our music is offered to the public as well as fairer compensation for our artists — as we continually refine the balance between direct promotion and monetization.

“Of course, in an environment this dynamic, our work is never done. Nor would we want it to be. Innovation and imagination are critical — in both music and the music business. As technology keeps evolving, we’ll keep fighting for our artists to ensure that their music earns for them what it so richly deserves.”

While user-generated copyright infringement via Facebook has been a concern for the industry, an agreement with the platform offers the potential of building on the industry’s return to growth with a fully licensed music partnership that has 2 billion monthly users.

In its announcement, UMG said the partnership will “facilitate deeper engagement between artists and fans, empowering users to express themselves through music, share the songs they love and build communities around music-fueled culture”.

With a variety of features set to become available on Facebook’s platforms, the strategic partnership heralds the next generation of music-based experiences available via social media. UMG identified Facebook’s Messenger as one part of the platform that would incorporate new music-based products that engage users.

Facebook Live has already become an increasingly important part of music marketing campaigns.

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