Facebook and Universal strike ‘unprecedented’ music licensing deal

22 Dec 2017

Facebook app on iPhone. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Facebook and Universal have inked a deal that will give users access to a vast music catalogue, with the creation of new social products.

Universal Music Group (UMG) will be the first major music firm to allow users to post and share music from its catalogue on the social media platform.

The partnership will see UMG license its music and publishing catalogues for video and “other social experiences” across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. Eventually, the partnership will expand to allow access to the UMG music library across a range of social features.

The two companies are also looking into developing new products for Facebook Messenger in the longer term.

Music and community building

Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships at Facebook, commented on the deal: “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.”

UMG said the partnership is “intended to serve as a foundation for a strategic partnership roadmap and will deliver new music-based experiences online”.

The music industry is transforming

Executive vice-president of digital strategy at UMG, Michael Nash, 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.”

UMG has also recently made deals with Spotify and renewed its existing licence with YouTube. UMG chair and CEO Lucian Grainge wrote an internal memo, which was obtained by Variety.

Within it, Grainge explained the Facebook deal was part of a larger strategy in terms of refining “the balance between direct promotion and monetisation”.

Facebook app on iPhone. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects