Warner Music Group Signs Licensing Deal With Facebook

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"We've taken our time to arrive at the best possible deal," says an exec at the label.

Facebook has completed another licensing deal with a major record label, announcing a partnership with Warner Music Group that will make the company's recorded and publishing catalogs available to users of the social media network. Under the agreement, users of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus will be able to upload and share videos containing licensed music in the Warner Music and Warner/Chappell catalogs.

The WMG deal follows a similar licensing agreement with Universal Music, as well as like-minded pacts with Sony/ATV Music PublishingKobalt Music Publishing, Global Music Rights, HFA/Rumblefish and, most recently, the pan-European rights hub ICE. The deal-athon is all part of Facebook's expanding music strategy to establish itself as a valuable ecosystem for music rights holders.

"Our partnership with Facebook will help expand the universe of music streaming and create supplementary revenue for artists," said Ole Obermann, WMG chief digital officer. "Fan-created video is one of the most personal, social and often viral ways that music is enjoyed, but its commercial potential is largely untapped. This collaboration will lead to new possibilities for our artists, while enhancing the user experience across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, and enabling people to communicate and express themselves using the music they love."

As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users and Instagram 800 million. With these recent licensing deals, these users will soon be able to incorporate a large catalog of licensed songs in their sharable experiences. The WMG family of labels is home to the globe's best-selling artist, Ed Sheeran, as well as Coldplay, Charli XCX, Neil Young, Twenty One Pilots and many more.

Tamara Hrivnak, the head of music business development and partnerships at Facebook, said "music brings to life the happy, the sad, the throwback and the funny in all the moments and messages we share with friends. We are delighted to partner with Warner, its artists and songwriters, and welcome them to our platforms."

Warner/Chappell executive vp of global digital strategy Eric Mackay praised Facebook for "showing real commitment to its participation in the growth of the music business" and explained why WMG was the third and final major to sign on. "We've taken our time to arrive at the best possible deal," he said, "one that recognizes the value that music creates on social networks, while empowering our songwriters to reach audiences around the world, in a way that will spark creativity and conversation among their fans."

Update (4:09 p.m.): An earlier version of this article indicated that Facebook had also signed a licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment, in addition to Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. The deal that was referenced was actually with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, not Sony's recorded-music division. This story has been updated.