Beginning tomorrow, Facebook will start distributing official music videos in the U.S. — a category that garners seismic viewership on competitor YouTube.
In a blog post, the company said it would premiere forthcoming clips from J. Balvin, Karol G, Sebastian Yatra, Alejandro Fernandez, and Calibre 50. The influencer-musician Lele Pons will also premiere the music video for her next single on Facebook, where she will also go live to chat with fans ahead of the release.
Facebook’s VP of music business development and partnerships, Tamara Hrivnak, and VP of entertainment, Vijaye Raji, explained that the company had initially started building a music video library in India and Thailand, and is now bringing that infrastructure in the U.S. thanks to licensing deals with the nation’s biggest record labels and indie outfits alike, including Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Merlin, BMG, and Kobalt.
At the same time, Facebook will launch tomorrow a new destination for Music inside of Facebook Watch — its dedicated video hub — on both desktops and mobile devices (iOS and Android), where fans can search for music videos by genre, artist, mood, or even via themed playlists (such as ‘Hip Hop MVPs’, ‘Trailblazers of Pop’, and ‘New This Week’). Over time, recommendations will become personalized based on the types of videos that users are watching, Facebook says. Music videos libraries will also appear in a new section within Artist Pages — a format by which top artists manage their presence on Facebook.
“With official music videos on Facebook, we’re creating new social experiences that are about more than just watching the video,” wrote Hrivnak (who joined Facebook from YouTube in 2017) and Raji, highlighting Facebook’s social components as a key differentiation from other viewing venues.
Facebook’s deals with the above labels marks a major potential coup for the social network, given the massive amounts of views that official music videos garner on competitor YouTube, which has maintained an unspoken monopoly of sorts in the field. Bloomberg reports that Facebook has long sought licensing deals, and had previously inked agreements to use music in the background of other videos — though not for official music videos. In forging the agreements, Bloomberg reports that in some cases Facebook has even agreed to pay video production costs and promote videos on its service in exchange for exclusivity.