Facebook's Latest Music Licensing Deal Is With Pan-European Rights Hub ICE

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ICE, the one-stop pan-European online rights hub, has agreed on what it describes as a "landmark" deal with Facebook.

The multi-territory partnership is the social media giant's first with an online music licensing hub and provides licensing for over 290,000 rights holders, across 160 territories. Platforms covered by the deal include Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and instant messaging service, Messenger.

"We are delighted to continue deepening our relationship with music by partnering with ICE in a first-of-its-kind licensing deal," said Anjali Southward, Facebook's head of international music publishing business development, in a statement.

Southward went on to say that the deal was just the start of "Facebook's journey with music" and that the California-based company was looking forward to "working with ICE and songwriters to build a community together around music."

In December, Facebook and Universal Music Group announced a global, multi-year licensing deal for UMG's recorded and publishing catalogs.

That was quickly followed by a multi-year licensing deal with Sony/ATV Music publishing, also covering the use of music on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. January additionally saw deals with Global Music Rights (GMR), SESAC's HFA/Rumblefish and Kobalt Music Publishing.

Today's deal with ICE represents the latest stage in Facebook's ever-expanding music strategy as it seeks to establish itself as a valuable ecosystem for music rights holders. For those rights holders, licensing deals with the likes of UMG, Sony/ATV, Kobalt and now ICE brings them several steps closer to Facebook's 2.1 billion monthly users (1.4 billion daily) and, more importantly, be able to monetize the relationship.

ICE -- which was formed by three of Europe's biggest collection societies (PRS for Music in the U.K. STIM in Sweden and Germany-based GEMA) and has distributed over €300 million ($369 million) to rights holders since launching in 2016 -- says that it will be collaborating with Facebook during the ongoing development of its rights reporting systems to ensure accurate royalties data.

"We are excited to work with Facebook to ensure we are delivering value back to creators for the use of their works on Facebook platforms," said Ben McEwen, commercial director at London-based ICE Services.

Stating that the "future of music depends on our industries working together" McEwen went on to say that closer collaboration between Facebook and the music business would "enable the development of new models for music consumption" and "ensure a healthy future for songwriters and composers."