Facebook signs deal with Universal Music Group – is a streaming service on the way?

If you’ve ever uploaded a video to Facebook that contains music you don’t own, chances are the site probably took it down. That’s because record labels, quite rightly, pressurise the social network to remove any content infringing their rights.

Facebook signs deal with Universal Music Group - is a streaming service on the way?

In some cases, this can even extend to recordings of covers and, although some might protest that they’re offering free publicity for an artist, an equally valid counter-argument can be made in terms of it being pinching someone else’s intellectual property to boost another, totally separate brand.

However, following a groundbreaking deal with Universal Music Group (UMG), Facebook will soon relax its policing of licensed content, letting users share the record label’s content on the site.

UMG, which boasts name like Adele, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift and Coldplay among its roster of artists, published a news post on its site explaining that the deal will “facilitate deeper engagement between artists and fans” and will offer “new music based experiences online”.

So what does that mean, in plain English?

We’re not totally sure, but towards the end of the news piece, it reads: “In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features.” So, presumably, as well as being able to upload UMG licensed content, you’ll also have the opportunity to stream UMG content directly from the Facebook’s various platforms, which include Messenger, Instagram and Oculus.

It’s not clear if this library will be available for free and ad-supported, but if it is, it represents a clear challenge to YouTube, which already has deals with UMG and Warner Music Group, as well as other streaming services such as Spotify.

Michael Nash, Executive Vice President 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.”

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