Facebook Sets Deals With Global Music Rights, Kobalt and SESAC's Rumblefish

            

Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook announced a flurry of major partnerships with music industry organizations on Thursday in a step towards reshaping itself as a valuable ecosystem for music rights holders. Among the new orgs pairing with the world's largest social network are Global Music Rights (GMR), SESAC's HFA/Rumblefish and Kobalt Music Publishing. The new deals follow close on the heels of agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV.

"Together, Facebook and the music industry are bringing the songs you love into the way you express yourself on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger," said Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business business development, in a blog post. "This means more ways to share, connect, find your fans and be your favorite artist’s biggest and best groupie."

The deal with Facebook marks GMR's first-ever user-generated-content deal and will presumably enable users of FB and Instagram to share videos featuring the performing rights organization's songwriters, who include Bruce Springsteen, Drake and Bruno Mars. Founder Irving Azoff, whose PRO has never licensed its works to YouTube, said, "Our partnership with Facebook reflects that when music is valued properly, it’s easy for both sides to view it as a win-win."

Stressing that it "values the talent of independent writers and music publishers" as well as major companies, Facebook said it has partnered with SESAC's music licensing company Rumblefish, itself a subsidiary of the Harry Fox Agency, "so that indie writers’ music can come to life and find their audience on our platforms."

Like previous licensing deals, the pairing with Rumblefish will enable users to upload and share videos with official music across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, and for publishers to be properly compensated for the use of the music. Facebook will also use Rumblefish to help identify and clear the musical works.

"With our deep relationships and unparalleled reach to both the major and the indie publishing market, coupled with the most comprehensive service suite, Rumblefish is a natural partner for Facebook," said Michael Simon, president, Rumblefish and HFA. "This alignment not only reinforces Rumblefish’s position as home to the world’s largest, most authoritative database of musical works linked to-recordings, but also our commitment to bring new licensing opportunities to the publishing market."

Facebook also announced a multi-year agreement with independent publisher Kobalt Music Publishing, enabling users to share from a catalog that includes songwriters like Paul McCartney, Max Martin and Dave Grohl. "In the spirit of a true partnership, Facebook will ensure songwriters are paid fairly and new revenue streams are created for user uploaded video," commented Kobalt founder and CEO Willard Ahdritz. "We look forward to working closely with Facebook throughout our partnership. And Kobalt is committed to distributing royalties in a fully transparent way."

NMPA president and CEO David Israelite praised Facebook's increased involvement in music publishing and licensing, calling it a "great step forward for the platform and for songwriters. Music provides value to Facebook and its users and ensuring that the creators of that music are compensated is paramount. We appreciate Facebook’s willingness to recognize the economic contribution of songwriters as well as its effort to create a system that properly streamlines payments moving forward. Other digital services should take note and follow suit."

This article has been updated to clarify Facebook's partnership with HFA/Rumblefish, a subsidiary of SESAC Holdings.