Facebook Expands Social Music Sharing Across Europe

Social media giant Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram this week announced an expansion of their music sharing options, facilitated by its growing list of licensing agreements, into seven new countries across Europe.

The announcement is likely to be a strategic move against social video sharing rival TikTok, which has recently experienced surging subscriptions around the globe.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has apps with 1.5 billion monthly active users and 700 million daily active users, the company said in July.

“We’ve been working with music partners around the world to help people connect and express themselves through music across the Facebook family of apps,” Facebook said this week.

“Today, we’re announcing the launch of music on Facebook and Instagram in The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Romania and Slovakia – bringing music to products across our platform in over 30 countries across EMEA.”

The result is Facebook’s new, music-focused options, including the ability to add favorite songs to Facebook profiles, music stickers for Instagram Stories and ‘Lip Synch Live’, which enables you to mime along to your favorite tracks on a live-stream.

If Facebook’s music sharing features sound familiar, then look to Tencent’s globally popular social media video app, TikTok. Reports have already indicated that Instagram is looking to add more tools to replicate TikTok’s key features.

More recent additions, include lyrics in Instagram music stickers and music questions stickers, also for Instagram, providing more ways for users to interact on both Facebook and Instagram, with a particular focus on Stories, which is growing in overall usage. 

“The popular Instagram Stories questions sticker also now has music. Your friends can respond to your questions sticker with a song from the music library – and you can then share your favorites to your story,” Facebook said.

“Sending music back and forth has always been a way to connect with friends, and now, if you need some ideas for your summer party playlist or your commute, you can do it through Instagram Stories. There are also new visual effects in the Music format on Stories that respond to beat and sound, so you can pick your favorite song and dance it out.”

Table: Facebook Music Licensing Deals

Global Music RightsJanuary 2018
IngroovesApril 2018
Kobalt Music PublishingApril 2018
MerlinApril 2018
SESAC’s HFA/Rumblefish January 2018
Sony/ATV Music PublishingJanuary 2018
The Beggar’s GroupApril 2018
Universal Music GroupJanuary 2018
Warner Music GroupMarch 2018

In recent years, Facebook has been working with major recording labels to enable Facebook users to include song clips in their Facebook and Instagram posts without infringing copyright. The benefit for Facebook-Instagram users is that their videos won’t automatically get pulled down over copyright violations if they include portions of licensed tunes. That, in turn, might make people more likely to create and share things on Facebook.

Since December 2017, when it reached a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) for both recordings and publishing, the company has been licensing rights that allow users to include music in personal videos and special features on its platform and its Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Oculus VR services. In April 2018, Facebook started supporting licensed music on its platforms, with new in-app music functions soon following.

TikTok’s app downloads have been surging, posing a threat to Facebook and Google by pulling the younger generation away. When asked about his strategy for TikTok’s growth, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company plans to target areas where TikTok hasn’t caught on yet.

Zuckerberg admitted to employees during an internal meeting in July that the social media video app is doing well, stating that the video app might be bigger than Facebook’s Instagram in India—a key international market for technology companies.

What to Know: Facebook-UMG Agreement

  • Multi-year agreement under which UMG becomes the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogs for video and other social experiences across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus.
  • Under the partnership, users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music and personalize their music experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, while sharing videos with friends and family.
  • In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features.

Published by: Charles Ederer

Charles is Streaming Week's editor and publisher. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, he writes about the intersection of business strategy and music-streaming innovation.

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