Facebook signs Universal Music licensing deal: could it benefit influencers?

Facebook signs Universal Music licensing deal: could it benefit influencers?

Facebook has signed its first music-licensing deal with a major label and publisher: Universal Music Group.

The global, multi-year agreement will cover the use of Universal's music on Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Oculus VR.

"Under this partnership, users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music and personalise their music experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, while sharing videos with friends and family," explained the two companies in their announcement.

"In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features. Going forward, the companies will experiment hand-in-hand to introduce new music-based products to these Facebook platforms, including Messenger."

Facebook has been involved in music for a long time, albeit usually through partnerships with streaming services like Spotify, who handle their own music-licensing deals.

In 2017, though, the social network has hired a number of music-industry executives to start negotiating its own deals with music labels and publishers. Universal Music is the first to sign on the dotted line.

What does this mean for influencers? At its simplest, the deal means that if they upload videos to Facebook and Instagram that include music from artists signed to Universal's labels (or songwriters signed to its publishing division), there will be royalties paid to those creators.

The details of how this will work will become clear in 2018: the existing model is YouTube, where music copyright owners can choose to claim the ad revenues from videos featuring their music.

There may be more interesting aspects in the longer term though: when a music company like Universal has a licensing deal in place with a platform like Facebook, its own marketing teams may be able to run more campaigns involving social influencers.

Facebook won't be stopping at one major music group, though. The other two major labels are Sony Music and Warner Music Group, who both also have publishing arms too. Meanwhile, independent labels have their own licensing agency called Merlin which strikes deals with digital music services and online platforms.

As the social network signs more deals, there may be even more opportunities for influencers on Facebook and Instagram to do more with music. Watch this space in 2018.

Contributing Editor

Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)