It appears that Facebook really does see video as the future of its platform. Following news that it was purchasing original TV content in December, and last month’s revelations that it’s building a video app for set-top boxes, the social network has now turned its attention to music licensing deals.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook execs have been meeting with music labels, publishers, and trade associations to try and strike a deal that will allow its users to include certain copyrighted songs in the videos they upload without the risk of them being removed. It may also lead to professional music videos appearing on the site.
Should an agreement be reached, Facebook could even create a simple way for users to add music to their videos. The worry that a video might be taken down because it includes a copyrighted song can stop people creating them. Facebook will hope that addressing the issue will encourage more video uploads.
The process could take some time, as part of the deal involves Facebook assuring the record industry that it has the technology to prevent copyright violations in user-generated videos.
Back in December, Billboard reported that Facebook was developing a copyright identification system - similar to YouTube’s Content ID – that would allow rights owners to take down videos that used their music without their permission, or take a share of the video’s ad revenue.
“We’re hopeful that they are moving towards licensing music for the entire site,” said David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association.
The move could have ramifications for YouTube, where music videos are one of the most popular types of content. The music industry likes to complain that the Google-owned site doesn’t pay them enough (even though it handed over $1 billion to artists and labels last year), and it could use Facebook's actions to get a better deal from YouTube.
The extra ad revenue from Facebook could potentially see billions of dollars generated for the music industry. Though whether the deal would have an adverse effect on streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify is unclear.