Facebook In Talks with Major Labels for Music Video Trial

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Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

It's blue versus red, as one giant puts another in the crosshairs.

Facebook is looking to pull music video views away from YouTube, an industry source has confirmed to Billboard.

One day after a Variety report highlighted Facebook's new ad revenue sharing program, a source with knowledge of the talks tells Billboard the social networking giant wants to conduct a test run through the end of this year, with selected music videos -- chosen by the labels -- being presented in the main news feed of users. Facebook is, of course, trying to siphon ad revenue away from Google by offering content creators its own native option.

Facebook is said to be looking to sew up licensing deals with the major labels on the pilot program as quickly as possible in order to get its music video trial underway. (And to do what it does best -- collect data on it.) There's no word on how Vevo, the joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music that centralizes each label's music videos, would be involved; Vevo did not immediately respond to  a request comment.

As Variety reported, the ad revenue split would mirror YouTube's -- 45 percent to Facebook, 55 percent to rights holders.

It's not Facebook's first foray into music video experimentation; Jay Z premiered the video for "Holy Grail" on the platform back in 2013 on a proprietary video player.

Last year, Facebook claimed that over 1 billion videos were watched on the site each day, from May through July, a number that has likely risen sharply since in that time the company introduced autoplaying to the news feed, though a play tally is only added if the video is watched for a significant period of time (significant, at least, if measured in smartphone Internet time). YouTube claims "billions of views" per day.

This is a developing story.