As you may know, in 2014, YouTube officially became the second-largest search engine, with over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute, and a billion unique visitors watch more than six billion hours of video every month. In combination with showcasing countless makeup tutorials, amateur films, and home life hacks, its popularity has revolutionized yet again how music is consumed.
As record companies scramble to keep up, Facebook continues to battle with Google’s family of innovative brands (Google purchased YouTube in 2006), and a move highlighted by Bloomberg this weekend shows that they are approaching a new angle. They are officially taking a seat at the table with the music industry.
Prior to the Grammys, a group of new performers from Universal Music took the stage in front of executives from late night hosts shows (including Grammy’s host James Cordon’s late show), Spotify Ltd., Apple Inc., Pandora Media Inc., and YouTube. For the first time, this included Facebook executives. According to Bloomberg, they are intersted in a deal that would govern user-generated videos that include songs, and potentially pave the way for Facebook to obtain more professional videos from the labels themselves.
“We’re hopeful that they are moving towards licensing music for the entire site,” said David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association, an industry trade group. The music industry is anxious for a solution to what they believe has been a disappointing approach from YouTube around copyright enforcement and ownership rights. However, Bloomberg cites YouTube delivered $1 billion in ad revenue to the music industry last year and undoubtedly has catalyze the careers of numerous new artists.
Can you imagine changing up your workday playlist from YouTube or Spotify to Facebook (which is likely open during your day more than you’d like to admit anyway?) Bloomberg cites that with nearly 2 billion users and a growing advertising business, Facebook could provide billions in new sales for the music industry, and send shockwaves to paid service subscription companies like Spotify (which has sparred with everyone from Taylor Swift to Neil Young about artist compensation and sound quality.)
In reading these pieces I discovered that in fall of 2015, Facebook launched “Music Stories” a new post format which allows people to listen to a 30-second preview of the shared song (or album) while on Facebook. So moving into the space is not entirely uncharted waters – but as they determine how to navigate the muddy waters of copyright, there remains never a slow day at the world’s largest social network.