Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Meta launched a new feature Monday that allows creators to monetize Facebook videos featuring music from major artists like Post Malone and Tove Lo. By encouraging creators to stay within the legal boundaries of music usage on its platforms, Meta can assure the music industry that it takes copyright infringement seriously.

Creators can access a library of music licensed by Meta and monetize licensed music videos with ads. Those makers then get a 20 percent discount on the advertising revenue, while Meta and the music rights holders divide the rest. But the new system has ground rules: eligible videos must be at least one minute long, and the music must not be the primary purpose of the video. It also does not apply to Roles.

YouTube also gives users access to a licensed music library, but you won’t find any chart positions – it’s mostly background music. While some of those who use music without permission are required to attend “Copyright School” or terminate their channels, others may leave their videos on the proviso that the copyright holder gets the ad revenue. In that case, it doesn’t look like the maker is getting a cut.

Meta’s announcement comes on the heels of two developments that reveal the company’s tension with the music industry. Last weekend, music publishing company Kobalt informed its writers and partners that the license agreement with Meta has ended and that it is in the process of pulling 700,000 songs from Facebook and Instagram from the likes of The Weeknd and Paul McCartney. In a memo obtained by Music Business Worldwide, Kobalt did not state a specific reason, but did say that “there were still fundamental differences that we could not resolve in your best interest.”

Last week, Meta was sued by Swedish music company Epidemic Sound, which licenses background music and sound effects for creator’s content. Epidemic Sound claims that 1,000 of its works have been uploaded and used on Meta’s platforms without a license. “Meta has created tools – Original Audio and Reels Remix – that encourage and allow users to steal Epidemic’s music from another user’s posted video content and use it in their own subsequent videos, resulting in exponential breaches of Meta’s platform, by Meta’s hands,” the complaint says. Meta declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Meta’s new tool to monetize videos with music doesn’t address the use of music in Reels, but it could potentially distract creators from copyright infringement by giving them a slice of the pie. Videos using unlicensed music may be muted or blocked, and repeat offenders may have their accounts disabled.

Whether it works or not (which is a big “if”), Meta and the giants of the music industry will have to come up with something. As Billboard notes, Facebook and Instagram are too big for the industry to ignore, but Meta needs to keep access to the charts if it wants to compete with TikTok and YouTube.

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