Facebook wants to rain on YouTube's music video parade

Negotiations with record labels are underway.

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Bloomberg reports Facebook is renegotiating its licensing deals with the big three record labels (Universal, Sony and Warner) to bring music videos to the social network and challenge YouTube’s dominance in the process.

As it stands, Facebook’s licensing deals enable users to use music in homemade videos, but it doesn’t extend to the rights to actual music videos, which are a huge drawcard for YouTube.

Video matters — Facebook’s been trying to increase the video content on its platforms for years. It launched Facebook Watch in 2017 and Instagram’s IGTV last year, but neither has done much to ruffle the feathers of YouTube, which continues to dominate the sector. If anything, game streaming services have proven the real rival to YouTube.

An alternative for labels — Record labels have long bemoaned the fees YouTube pays for content, along with the service’s sketchy track record protecting copyright. So beyond the additional revenue new deals with Facebook would mean, the competition it fosters could be a boon for labels, too.

At present, labels have very little room to negotiate with YouTube, and it’s too important for marketing new and established artists alike. A new player like Facebook, with over 2 billion monthly users, could give them some wiggle room.