Facebook inks music deal

Facebook has signed a deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from Universal Music Group across its platforms.
Facebook has signed a deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from Universal Music Group across its platforms.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES • Facebook is muscling into YouTube territory, inking a multi-year deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from the world's biggest record label, Universal Music Group, across its platforms.

The deal on Thursday solves a long-running dispute, with Facebook agreeing to compensate the company and artists, including Taylor Swift, when users post videos that include copyrighted material.

The accord includes Facebook, Instagram and Oculus virtual-reality technology, with Universal saying the move would become a "significant contributor" to the industry.

The deal sets Facebook up as a more direct competitor to Google's YouTube, the most popular destination online for listening to music.

Both technology giants are battling for a bigger share of people's time and music rights could help Facebook give users new ways to engage with its services.

Striking deals with Facebook also gives record labels a way to put pressure on YouTube, which has become a powerful force in the music industry as a marketing tool and a way to introduce new artists.

Google's video site signed its own new long-term agreement with Universal Music and Sony Music Entertainment this month, promising stronger policing of user uploads of copyrighted songs and paving the way for a new paid service.

The online world has become the source of growth for the music industry, with services such as Spotify and Apple Music driving increased consumer spending for the first time in years.

Facebook was offering labels hundreds of millions of dollars for music rights, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier this year.

Up to now, music companies have not been compensated when fans posted clips with music - a source of dismay as video viewing on Facebook mushroomed.

The social network tried to respond by taking down material. But the result pleased no one.

Thursday's deal could lead to agreements with other music labels and wider use of music and related videos in social media.

In January, Facebook hired Ms Tamara Hrivnak, a former music industry executive who held positions at Google and YouTube, to lead its music-development efforts.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2017, with the headline 'Facebook inks music deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe