Facebook strikes first major music rights deal with Universal Music

Universal Music Group strikes ‘unprecedented’ global deal to license music catalog across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus

Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed an 'unprecedented' global deal with Facebook which will see it become the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogs across three of the social giant's platforms.

The record label's portfolio of music, which includes artists including Taylor Swift and Jay-Z, will be used for video and "other social experiences" across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, the tech company's VR arm.

Initially the partnership will mean that users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music to the three platforms. 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 to introduce new music-based products to these Facebook platforms, including Messenger.

The multi-year agreement forms part of the two companies' aim to "deliver new music-based experiences online", as music democratizes from buying specific records in stores to an endless supply of choice online.

The deal marks an important milestone in the social company's ambitions to compete with Google’s YouTube, currently the most popular destination online for listening to music.

YouTube is expected to launch a new paid music service next year after striking three deals with major labels this year, including UMG, which signed a second global, multi-year agreement with the site this week. Bloomberg reports that the video site also signed an new agreement with Sony Music Entertainment, while it reached a deal with Warner Music Group in May.

Michael Nash, executive vice president of digital strategy, Universal Music Group, said the partnership is an "important first step" demonstrating that innovation and fair compensation for music creators are mutually reinforcing.

“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," Nash said.

"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," he added.

Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships, Facebook, said of 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.”

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