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Facebook lands first-ever music licensing deal with Universal Music

Noah Berger / AP

Facebook and Universal Music have struck a multi-year licensing deal to let users across all Facebook media properties use recorded music and publishing catalogs for video across Facebook.

Why it matters: It's the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogs for video and other social experiences across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. Until now, users couldn't upload videos with non-licensed music in them, making it harder for users to post their content and providing less exposure for artists whose songs are commonly used in user-generated videos.

  • In the future, Facebook says the two companies will experiment ways to introduce new music-based products to these Facebook platforms, as well as Messenger, in order to engage more users.
  • Facebook has been expanding its video efforts, primarily through its "Watch" feature, for which future music collaborations could be helpful.
  • Facebook is catching up to Chinese tech rivals that have been aggressively pursing music deals. Chinese internet giant Tencent recently swapped minority shares with Spotify and TaoTao, a rising Chinese tech company, recently bought viral lip-sync app Musical.ly.
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