In its continued bid to create a thriving video ecosystem with the nationwide launch of episodic hub Watch, Facebook is reportedly offering record labels and music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars so that users on the world’s largest social network can post videos containing popular songs.
The deal, first reported by Bloomberg, represents something of a temporary solution, as Facebook is currently in the process of building a system that will auto-identify copyrighted content — not unlike YouTube’s Content ID system. The lump payment by Facebook to music rights holders in order to clear user-generated content would serve as a solution during the two-year process that it will take for the social network to build such a tool. It will also enable Watch videos to contain popular songs during its ever-critical rollout period.
Right now, rights holders must ask Facebook to remove videos featuring copyrighted content, per Bloomberg — which is not only laborious for rights holders and frustrating to users but also presents potential legal headaches for advertisers who happen to run spots against infringing videos.
Leading the negotiations between Facebook and major music labels is Tamara Hrivnak — who was hired by the company from YouTube earlier this year to lead global music strategy and business development. Hrivnak previously served as the director of music partnerships at YouTube and Google Play, and, before that, was a top exec at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.
As the initial deal is just a temporary solution, it remains to be seen whether Facebook’s relationship with the music industry will go the way of YouTube, which has repeatedly been criticized for underpaying labels and enabling copyrighted content to proliferate — charges that the video giant denies.