Facebook is reportedly set to enter the music streaming business in a move that would place it in direct competition with Apple Music and Spotify.
According to anonymous sources Facebook will extend its trial of ad-supported native videos to music at per-stream rates that will match YouTube, Music Alley reports.
The move, which would mark Facebook's first push into the digital music market, would see the social network pay royalties to rights holders and allow them a system of registering their content to prevent piracy.
A source was quoted in Music Ally as saying: “On Facebook’s move into monetised video, all of us could see it coming for months... We have all been really utilising it in internal testing. It is way, way ahead of YouTube.”
Matthew Knight, head of strategic innovation at Carat, questioned whether Facebook's alleged move into streaming music and revenues generated from video advertising was a consumer-centric strategy, or a commercial one.
"Indeed, I feel the biggest losers in this scenario may be the audience. Very few listeners will be paying for and subscribing to multiple services. But exclusive deals mean some artists may only be available on certain platforms, so listening to a wide range of artists may become increasingly challenging.
"It would be great to see a platform like Facebook address the issue of smaller artists getting fair and direct revenues from streaming platforms though. Facebook reaches a huge community of listeners and performers, and in the way that YouTube has been a fantastic platform for bringing new talent to large audiences, Facebook could offer a similar platform to get talent in front of people whom they know, through interest data, are likely to enjoy the music, and then help generate revenue for those artists."
The music video plans are rumoured to be advanced, with a launch likely to happen within the next few months. However a Spotify-style audio streaming service is further down the roadmap.